Meet a few people I saw texting and driving while leaving NYC yesterday

I was in New York City for a few days, and took the bus home last night (only $30, who knew?), and damn if I didn’t see a number of people texting while driving.

First there was this woman.


We were entering the Lincoln Tunnel to New Jersey, around W. 39th. The woman’s car was actually moving, inching ahead in traffic, while she was texting, hands on the phone, not the wheel, and she kept looking down at the phone while the car was moving. That’s what finally motivated me to snap the photo. Car is moving, and you’re looking down at your phone having a text conversation.

Here’s New York state law:

Under New York State law you cannot use a hand-held mobile telephone or send a text or an email while you drive. If you use a hand-held mobile telephone while you drive (except to call 911 or to contact medical, fire or police personnel about an emergency) or use a device to text or send email, you can receive a traffic ticket and be subject to a fine and a surcharge.

Interestingly, it doesn’t say anything about “reading” texts or emails, or surfing the Web. One would assume those activities should be prohibited as well.



Then, a short while later, we’re on 95 in New Jersey, and I just happen to see a truck driver doing the same thing — phone in the hand, looking down at the phone, while zooming along at 55 to 65mph.


New Jersey law is also somewhat vague, at least the state’s description of the law is confusing:


What I find confusing is that the description from the state, above, makes it sound as if you can text hands-free — in other words, using Siri. Also, again, the state of New Jersey’s page says nothing about surfing the Web, though they do mention that the list of “uses” is not limited to what they describe. Still, somewhat confusing.

Here’s truck-surfer:




Someone on Facebook mentioned that there apparently is technology that can shut off the texting, and even the phone, features once you pass a certain speed. But the phone and car companies don’t exactly love it. And think about it, your GPS won’t let you enter new data when you’re moving. Though, if you’re a passenger, it would be pretty lousy if you couldn’t text or enter data on your Web browser while the car was moving — maybe it has a proximity sensor in the steering wheel, so only the driver is negated.

I don’t mean to go all Grandpa McCain, but I just don’t get it.

Then again, I’m one of those people who actually uses their turn signal when, you know, turning.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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