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FAQs - Portable and Hands-Free Electronic Device

What is the portable and hands-free electronic device rule?

Drivers are not allowed to use cell phones, Bluetooths or any handheld or hands-free electronic devices while operating their vehicles. To get more information on the rule, please refer to Chapter 80.

How do I comply with this rule?

You may not have a Bluetooth-connected device or other wireless or wired telephone device in or near your ear, even if you are not talking on it or listening to it. You may not use a handheld or hands-free cell phone or any other portable electronic device while driving. You must be legally standing or parked to use a handheld or hands-free electronic device.

Please Note: Only TLC drivers who drive a community livery car, black car, or luxury limousine may receive dispatch information from a base using a mounted electronic device or FCC licensed two-way radio. Communication must be brief and strictly business-related. To get more information on the rule, please refer to Chapter 80.

I was found guilty for using a portable or hands-free electronic device. What do I need to do?

Any driver convicted of using a portable or hands-free electronic device while driving any vehicle will receive a summons from the TLC. The driver will have to attend a TLC hearing and if found guilty, will be required to complete the mandated Distracted Driver Course at a TLC authorized school. This course provides training on the dangers of driving while distracted by a portable or hands-free electronic device. After your hearing, you will have 60 days to complete the course and provide the TLC with proof that you have taken it.

Please note: If you are convicted of using a portable or hands-free electronic device while driving a non-TLC licensed vehicle, you will be required to take the mandated Distracted Driver Course at a TLC authorized school.

Will I have to pay a fine if I am convicted of using a portable or hands-free electronic device while operating a TLC licensed vehicle?

Yes. You will have to pay a $200 fine and complete the mandated Distracted Driver Course at a TLC authorized school.

Will I have to pay a fine if I am convicted of using a portable or hands-free electronic device while operating a vehicle not licensed with the TLC?

Yes. If the Traffic Violations Bureau convicts you of using a portable or hands-free electronic device while operating a non-TLC licensed vehicle you will receive a summons from the TLC. If you are convicted you will be required to pay a $200 fine and you may also receive points on your TLC license. You will also have to complete the mandated Distracted Driver Course at a TLC authorized school.

Will points be added to my TLC record if I am convicted of using a portable or hands-free electronic device while operating a TLC licensed vehicle?

TLC Drivers (Medallion, Street Hail Livery and For-Hire Vehicle Drivers) only will receive points.

The first or second time you are found guilty in any 15-month period, you will receive 3 points on your TLC record. Your license can be suspended after the second conviction.

The third time you are found guilty in any 15-month period, you will receive 4 points on your TLC record.

Please Note: If you are convicted of a third violation within a 15-month period, your TLC license will be revoked.

Will points be added to my TLC record if I am convicted of using a portable or hands-free electronic device while operating a vehicle not licensed with the TLC?

Medallion, Street Hail Livery and For-Hire Vehicle Drivers only:
If the Traffic Violations Bureau convicts you of using a portable or hands-free electronic device while operating a non-TLC Licensed vehicle, the Taxi and Limousine Commission will add points on your TLC record.

  • Note 1: If you are found guilty for using a portable or hands-free electronic device while driving your personal vehicle (non-TLC licensed), the TLC will add points to your TLC record. The first or second time you are found guilty in any 15-month period, you will receive 3 points on your TLC record. Your license can be suspended after the second conviction. The third time you are found guilty in any 15-month period, you will receive 4 points on your TLC record.
  • Note 2: If you are convicted of a third violation within a 15-month period, your TLC license will be revoked.

Where can I take the TLC mandated Distracted Driver Course?

You can take the required training course at any one of the TLC authorized schools.

How long is the TLC mandated Distracted Driver Course?

The TLC mandated Distracted Driver Course is a minimum of 2 hours. For additional information, please refer to the TLC authorized schools.

How much does it cost to take the required course?

For information on how much the required course costs, you must contact the TLC authorized school.

These FAQs are for informational purposes only, and are not a full statement of your rights, duties, and obligations under TLC Rules and applicable law. In the event that any of the information contained in these FAQs is not current or otherwise incorrect, the TLC’s Rules and applicable laws govern. The TLC’s Rules can be found on our website at  www.nyc.gov/tlc.