Distracted Driving, Talking, Texting Enforcement Campaign

Modified: April 7, 2016 8:40am


Buffalo, NY – Erie County Sheriff Timothy B. Howard announces the Erie County Sheriff’s Office will be participating in National Distracted Driving Month with Deputies looking for distracted drivers on April 8 through April 13.  The sheriff’s office will have extra patrols during the statewide enforcement period and will be looking for drivers who are using a handheld device to talk on a cell phone, and read or compose text, and email messages while driving. 

This is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s second national high visibility enforcement campaign for distracted driving: “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” 

The roving sheriff’s patrols will be issuing tickets to distracted drivers and the penalties for these violations are 5 driver violation points and fines ranging from $50 - $200 for a first offense, a driver’s second offense within eighteen months can face a fine from $50 - $200, and third offense can receive a $400 fine. 

New York prohibits all drivers from using portable electronic devices and the illegal activity includes holding a portable electronic device and: 

  • Talking on a handheld mobile telephone

  • Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as e-mail, text messages, or web pages

  • Viewing, taking, or transmitting images

  • Playing games

 As of November 1, 2014, drivers with a probationary license, Class DJ, Class MJ or a learner permit and convicted of cell phone and texting violations will result in: 

  • A mandatory 120-day driver license or permit suspension.

  • Subsequent convictions within six months of a license restoration will result in a revocation of at least one year of a probationary license, junior license or learner permit. 

Since April 1, 2015, Deputies have issued over 220 tickets for cell phone use while operating a vehicle.