Can I Use Waze Or GPS While Driving In New York?

You may not use Waze or GPS while driving in New York if you are holding the device while in motion.  If the device is mounted on a dashboard or placed in your cup holder, then you are not violating the law. Of course, if you pick up the mobile device at any time, then your use becomes illegal.

VTL 1225-d(2) defines a “Portable electronic device” broadly as  “any hand-held mobile telephone, as defined by subdivision one of section twelve hundred twenty-five-c of this article, personal digital assistant (PDA), handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device.

More importantly, “use” means holding a portable electronic device “while viewing, taking or transmitting images, playing games, or composing, sending, reading, viewing, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving or retrieving e-mail, text messages, or other electronic data.”  Using Waze or GPS requires a driver to view images, among other things.  Thus, a driver holding a device while using Waze or GPS has violated VTL 1225-d.

If you have a passenger, then let him or her hold the device.  If you’re alone, then you should not hold the device unless you pull over to a parked position (not stopped in traffic).  While this may sound cumbersome, it is better than the alternative (getting a 5-point VTL 1225-d traffic ticket).

Previous Post
Suffolk County Traffic and Parking Violations Bureau No Longer Can Impose Jail Sentences
Next Post
NYC To Pay Persons With Dismissed Pink Tickets

Related Posts

No results found.

30 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi – my son was driving into a gas station in New York state and picked up his phone. A police officer was pumping gas and saw my son in the gas station parking lot with his phone and gave him a ticket under 1225(d). My son missed the court date and is now overdue. Should he send in the ticket now or call the clerk? Would the fact that he was in the driveway of the gas station make the law inapplicable since it was not a public way?

    Reply
    • Chris,

      Your son should contact the court ASAP. I don’t think it makes a difference but you could make the argument.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • I live in Ohio where you can use a gps while driving. I got pulled over in crawling traffic and got pulled over while checking my gps. I removed it from the holder to read whAt exit I had to get off on. Now this makes me guilty and I guess I have to pay fines but 5 points on license. Is there anyway of avoiding points or getting them removed?

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      May 28, 2019 1:15 pm

      Pat,

      The only way to possibly avoid or reduce points is by pleading not guilty. You can remove up to 4 NY points by taking the NYS Driver Safety Class.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Brooklyn: I got a moving violation ticket because waze was on in the passengers seat. Cop didn’t care, said I was using phone. Tried to fight it, Judge didn’t care. Got points on my license.

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      May 4, 2019 5:19 pm

      C Kafton,

      Sorry that you lost. You can appeal if within 30 days of the date of conviction.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • what’s the punishment if policeman claims that the phone attached to the car was abstracting the view? are there points involved?

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      January 31, 2019 4:34 pm

      Marina,

      This ticket carries 0 points but could be beaten if you can prove that it did obstruct or interfere with your view. Specifically, VTL Section 375(30) reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle with any object placed or hung in or upon the vehicle, except required or permitted equipment of the vehicle, in such a manner as to obstruct or interfere with the view of the operator through the windshield, or to prevent him from having a clear and full view of the road and condition of traffic behind such vehicle

        .

        Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Wayne P Matitngly
    August 3, 2018 11:16 pm

    I haven’t read ALL the comments above, BUT: I was pulled over for holding a GPS/phone to MY EAR! You know, because it’s safer than LOOKING at anything–like a mounted device! I had already studied some map directions but there were a few quick turns at intersections I wanted to listen to. Why are the people who draw up laws/legislation so stupid? Oh, by the way, I live in the Bronx and this took place in New Rochelle. In 12 years in the Bronx I have NEVER been spoken to so contemptuously, condescendingly, or intimidatingly. By anyone.

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      August 4, 2018 7:26 am

      Wayne P Matitngly,

      Sorry to hear about your unpleasant incident. The law (as written) makes it illegal to use an electronic device while driving. Use includes listening to it while holding it to your ear. Does your car have Bluetooth? Using Bluetooth to hear the GPS directions would not be a violation of the law.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Gary Lupinacci
    June 25, 2018 2:10 am

    Is no one going to mention that these laws are INSANE and make zero common sense?! I was just issued a ticket for using GPS to view which way in interstate of multiple ramps at same location I had to take.

    I saw the state officer slow down after passing me and thought it best to not throw down the phone so he can clearly see I was not texting & simply viewing which lane I needed to be in at that moment.

    Of course it make perfect sense that if I just had it in my lap – and looking directly down, eyes off the road – versus up to view road and screen simultaneously- no that is wrong. Lap and eyes down, off the road = Okay. ZERO SENSE.
    Map unfolded and blocking my view = okay.

    Zero common sense with GPS directions. Look down is insane.

    Not to mention please explain to me how “5 points for viewing GPS (holding a phone)” and it’s only 4 points if I were doing 75 in a 55 (20 mph over) is not an 8th amendment violation. If speeding 20 mph is = 4 pnts, then it seems excessive “punishment/fines” to me for 5 pnts for looking at a map that is electronic vs a huge piece of folded up paper.

    Insanity. Zero sense. I would never have dreamt doing an action that kept my eyes on the road vs down on my lap, off the road is preferred by the law and NYS senate and assembly. Stupid. Dumb.

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      June 26, 2018 11:21 pm

      Gary Lupinacci,

      Thanks for sharing your views on this topic. I would expect politicians to respond that using an electronic device is dangerous and distracting. That is why it is illegal and 5 points. I do not disagree with this response.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Is it legal to have your phone mounted on the dash of a 63 passenger school bus in any position?

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      April 28, 2018 8:56 pm

      Heidi,

      It is legal to mount a phone on a school bus. With that said, you should not use a cell phone while driving a school bus (or any other vehicle).

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • So if your phone is mounted to the dashboard, and you’re not holding or otherwise cradling it while it’s mounted, you can tap away and look at your screen and not considered “use” as far as the law is concerned. Correct? The cop would have to say he saw you holding it for the law to be applicable, right?

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      July 26, 2017 11:47 pm

      Peter,

      If you are not “holding” it, then technically you are not in violation of the VTL 1225d.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Hi, Mr. Weiss,

    I was pulled over a few weeks ago as I was checking Google map on my phone while stopping for a red light. My phone was mounted, not in my hand. Officer gave me a ticket with 5 points. This happened in Queens. It sounds like I was not in violation of the law at all. I am will to pay the fine but want to have the points removed. How good a chance do I have to succeed if I were to personally appeal in court? What information should I provide to be helpful. I have very clean record, no moving tickets. Thanks for your advice!

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      July 26, 2017 1:08 am

      Cora,

      If you fight this New York City ticket, the only outcome can be guilty (points and fine) or not guilty.

      You or your NY traffic lawyer will have to appear.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • The law clearly describes electronic devices as a “communication device”, connected to a data network. A GPS is a RECEIVER and does have communication capabilities and doe not fit the definition profile otherwise, people using e-cigarettes, vaporizers or even looking at a digital watch would create a violation. The cops and judges do not know the difference and allot of tickets are given unfairly.

    Reply
    • Matthew Weiss
      July 4, 2017 11:05 pm

      Mitch,

      You are mistaken. “Portable electronic device” shall is defined as any hand-held mobile telephone, personal digital assistant (PDA), handheld device with mobile data access, laptop computer, pager, broadband personal communication device, two-way messaging device, electronic game, or portable computing device.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • If a mobile device is mounted on the dashboard, would it be in violation of the current law to tap the screen to answer an incoming call while stopped at a light? How might that differ from using a built in button on the steering wheel?

    Reply
    • Vic,

      If a mobile device is mounted on the dashboard, it would NOT be in violation of the current law to tap the screen to answer an incoming call while stopped at a light. VTL 1225-d only prohibits using the electric device while “holding it” and while “in motion”.

      Matthew Weiss

      Reply
  • Would Holding your phone while listening to GPS oral directions (not looking at it) be “use” in breach of the law?

    Reply
  • How can a person petition against an officer ?

    Reply
  • There has to be others ways??? so your telling me the only options is go to nys politicians? Figures it seems like all “legal people ” stick up for each other and make it seems like they put to help !! Lol that’s why I asked …

    Luck doesn’t exists

    Reply
  • I’m wondering when they make these laws can we attend ? Is there a way to petition the law? And how can gounpetition against an officer?

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

Menu