Holding a GPS Device While Driving Ruled Illegal

We all know that driving while talking or texting will land you in hot water.  If you are caught, the DMV can slap you with a $200 fine, $93 surcharge, and assess 5 points to your license.[add link]  Think 5 points isnt a big deal?  Well, if you accumulate 6 points within an 18-month period, the DMV will charge you a “Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee.” [add link].  The fee is $100 per year, for 3 years.  What if you have more than 6 points?  In that case, the DMV will charge you an extra $25 per year for each point over 6 points.  Failure to pay the Assessment will result in the DMV suspending your license.

 Recently, the Appellate Division, 3rd Department decided that merely holding a GPS device in your hand while driving is enough for the police to stop and ticket you.   

The case, Matter of Clark v New York State Dept. of Motor Vehs.(2017 NY Slip Op 05133 [3rd Dept 6/22/2017]), the Appellate Court held that “holding that a global positioning system (GPS) "meets the statutory definition of a 'portable electronic device' inasmuch as it is a 'hand-held device with mobile data access' (Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1225-d [2] [a])."  The Appellate Court pointed out that the “legislative history regarding Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1225-d demonstrates that the Legislature intended Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1225-d (2) (a) to encompass any portable electronic device that diverts a driver's attention away from the road and prevents the full use of a driver's hands ...." (emphasis added.)

Therefore, the Appellate Court supported the police’s power to stop and ticket a driver who is merely holding a GPS while driving.

What does this mean for drivers?  It means that you can no hold a GPS device or a cell phone or any other portable electronic device while driving.  If you do, you are subject to being stopped and ticketed by the police.

But there is hope!  My office has successfully defended traffic tickets throughout the City and State of New York.  If you receive a ticket, call us at (212) 951-0555 today!