Distracted driving is a leading cause of fatal car accidents all across the country. Because of this, there is zero tolerance for distracted driving in New York, according to officials. Despite the risk of being involved in a car accident, many people continue to drive while distracted.
The increased use of smartphones, GPS systems and other devices while driving has forced New York law enforcement authorities to crack down on motorists more than ever before. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York legislature have increased fines and enforcement abilities of officers. Texting is now considered a primary offense in the state of New York. This means that if an officer sees you texting behind the wheel, which is enough of a reason for him to pull New Yorkers over.
The penalty for texting while driving has been increased from three to five points. First time offenders over the age of 21 may pay up to a $200 fine. For those under 21, there is even more at stake. Young drivers could have their junior licenses suspended, even for a first offense.
As a result of these changes, the number of tickets issued for texting has increased significantly. With a 52 percent increase since 2013, authorities hope that the 84,720 texting while driving tickets issued in 2015 will help put an end to one of the main forms of distracted driving.
It appears that some progress is being made. The number of distracted driving tickets dropped 10 percent last year due to a lower number of cell phone tickets. Governor Cuomo and other state officials continue to do everything in their power to reduce the number of distracted drivers on the roadways.
Source: Press & Sun-Bulletin, "Watch out: Texting tickets rise in New York," Joseph Spector, April 8, 2016