I am sure no one has missed the new signs on the highway flashing that you may not text and drive or risk high fines and 5 points on your license. And certainly, there is good reason for the law. However, did you know that as long as your car is not in motion, it is not against the law to text? Specifically, paragraph 1 of Section 1225-d of the Vehicle & Traffic Law states that no person shall operate a motor vehicle while using any portable or electronic device while such vehicle is in motion.
The same is true of making a call. Section 1225-c of the Vehicle & Traffic Law prohibits operators of a motor vehicle to use a mobile telephone unless it is hands free. However, the law only requires operators of a motor vehicle to have a hands free device while such vehicle is in motion.
It should be noted that there are new regulations coming out at the end of October that operators of commercial vehicles may not make a call without a hands free device or text irrespective of whether the vehicle is in motion.
Therefore, as long as you are not operating a commercial vehicle, you are not breaking the law if you are stopped at a red light and send a text or make a quick call.