Two new Vehicle and Traffic Laws now in effect

There are two new Vehicle and Traffic Laws in New York state that motorists should be aware of. One pertains to everyone, and one affects only drivers with commercial licenses (CDLs) and their employers. Since there are many drivers in Franklin County who hold CDLs, this information should be informative to them also.

The first new law, effective Nov. 1, amends section 1161 of the V&T Law. This section prohibits U-turns upon any curve, or upon the approach to, or near the crest of a grade, where such driver cannot be seen by other drivers approaching from either direction within 500 feet. This law is amended to now also prohibit any U-turns within a school zone where a school sign has been posted.

The second new law, effective Oct. 28, amends sections 1225-c and 1225-d regarding the use of mobile telephones and portable electronic devices by operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Implementation of these changes was made in recognition of the significant dangers of mobile phone use and texting, especially for commercial drivers. These changes are:

The operator of a CMV is deemed to be “using” a mobile telephone when such person presses more than a single button to dial or answer the phone. Any mobile telephone used in such a manner by the operator of a CMV is not deemed to be a “hands-free” device.

The operator of a CMV is prohibited from using a mobile-telephone or portable electronic device while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic, a traffic control device, or other momentary delays, and doing so creates a presumption that the vehicle operator is engaged in a call.

The operator of a CMV who holds a portable electronic device in a conspicuous manner while the vehicle is temporarily stationary because of traffic or traffic control devices, or other momentarily delays, is presumed to be using the device.

A motor carrier may not allow or require its drivers to use hand-held mobile telephones or portable electronic devices while driving a CMV.

The definition of “portable electronic device” is expanded to include, in addition to those devices currently listed, “any other electronic device when used to input, write, send, receive or read text for present or future communications.”

Convictions for using a hand-held mobile telephone or a portable electronic device while operating a CMV are considered “serious traffic violations,” resulting in mandatory suspension of a CDL.

For more articles on traffic law and safety, go to the traffic safety board’s website at and click on “Traffic Safety Board” under departments then look for Did You Know articles under “services.”