What are Manual Distractions While Driving? 

What are Manual Distractions While Driving? 
Calendar icon November 14, 2023
What are Manual Distractions While Driving? 
  • Manual distractions, like cell phone use or eating in the car, involve taking your hands off the wheel while driving.
  • Distracted driving is an increasingly common cause of car accidents and is especially dangerous for teen drivers.
  • Any use of a handheld electronic device while driving is illegal in New York state and can carry severe penalties.
  • An experienced personal injury lawyer like the team at Cellino Law can help protect your rights if you’re injured by a distracted driver.

As cell phones and other in-car distractions have increasingly become a part of everyday life, car accidents involving distracted drivers are on the rise as well. Nine people die every day from distracted driving. 

Distracted driving can be broken down into visual distractions, cognitive distractions, and manual distractions. All of these behaviors are dangerous, but manual distractions can be especially deadly.

Defining Manual Distractions 

Manual distractions are anything that takes your hands off the wheel while driving. This can include eating, drinking, smoking, using a cell phone, adjusting the radio, or grooming yourself.

Manual distractions differ from other types of distractions, such as visual and cognitive. However, many manual distractions (such as texting while driving) can be manually, visually, and cognitively distracting.

Manual Distractions Can Cause Car Accidents

The fast pace of modern roads means that split-second reactions can make all the difference. Manual distractions take your attention from the road and prevent you from responding quickly enough to danger. 

Distracted driving is especially deadly for teens, with distracted driving playing a central role in nearly six out of ten car crashes by teenage drivers.

New York Laws on Distracted Driving 

The state of New York has strict laws against the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. Illegal activity includes holding an electronic device and:

  • Talking on a handheld cell phone
  • Writing, sending, or reading emails and text messages
  • Accessing web pages
  • Taking or viewing pictures 
  • Playing mobile games

Exceptions are made for calling 911 or other emergency services.


Drivers who are caught using a handheld electronic device can receive traffic tickets, fines, and points being added to their driving records. Fines range from a minimum of $50 to a maximum of $450, and repeat offenders may have their license suspended.

What to do if You’re Involved in an Accident Caused by a Manual Distraction 

If you’re involved in a car accident, you should check for injuries first. If anyone is injured, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately.

After you’ve checked for injuries, exchange contact and insurance information with any drivers involved in the accident. You should also take photos of the scene of the accident, any injuries caused, and any vehicles involved.

How to Prove Someone Was Driving While Distracted 

In order to win a personal injury case against a distracted driver, you need to prove that their negligence caused the car accident. Proving that someone was distracted while driving can be challenging, but it is possible with the right evidence.

  • Eyewitnesses can testify that they saw the driver engaging in a distracting activity like eating or using their cell phone. This can be especially helpful if multiple eyewitnesses corroborate each others’ stories.
  • Cell phone records can show that the driver was texting, taking a call, or otherwise using their phone at the time of the accident.
  • Dashcam footage can show the driver’s behavior before, during, and after the accident, which can prove that they weren’t paying attention to the road or were engaged in a distracting activity.
  • Expert witnesses like accident reconstructionists and traffic safety experts can testify about the likelihood that the driver was distracted during the accident. This can be especially helpful in explaining complicated evidence to a jury.

Contact Cellino Law to Speak with an Experienced Attorney About Your Case

If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to reach out to Cellino Law. Our team of experienced car accident lawyers have dealt with manual distraction cases and can help you protect your rights. We have a proven track record of winning cases and securing compensation for our clients.

Car accidents can be intense and traumatic, and the last thing you want to deal with while recovering is a complicated legal case. Cellino Law will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

Call us at (888) 888-8888 or contact us online to speak with us about your case.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I seek compensation if another driver’s distracted driving caused my injuries?

If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s distracted driving, you can receive compensation for your damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit. You will need to prove that the driver was negligent and that their negligence caused your injuries.

Work with a qualified attorney to understand your rights and how to pursue a claim.

What kind of evidence is used to prove distracted driving?

Evidence is vital in any personal injury claim. Eyewitness testimony, cell phone records, dashcam footage, and expert testimony can all be used as evidence to prove distracted driving.

What compensation can I receive for my distracted driving accident?

The compensation you can receive for damages caused by distracted driving will vary depending on factors like the severity of your injuries and other damages suffered. This can include medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, or emotional distress.

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Content checked by the personal injury attorney Ross Cellino. As a family man and a trial attorney, I pride myself on winning cases and serving the community. With over 35 years of experience, I understand the function of a jury, how juries arrive at conclusions, and the role that the jury plays in administering justice. I know how to win cases. You can find us in Manhattan, Buffalo, Melville, Rochester, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens and other locations throughout New York.



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