New York is beefing up its cell phone laws; rather, the penalties for violating those laws.
Before today, all drivers–regardless of license type–faced a three-point penalty on their driving records if they were caught texting while driving.
Sounds pretty standard, right?
However, during a recent news conference, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that as of June 1, 2013 that points penalty increases to five points.
Additionally, drivers with probationary and junior licenses get 60 days license suspension for a first conviction; a subsequent conviction within six months of license restoration brings another 60-day suspension.
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Targeting Texting Teens
This isn’t the first texting-while-driving penalty increase Governor Cuomo has introduced since taking office. Back in 2011, he increased the points penalty from two to three and made texting-while-driving a primary offense, meaning officers could pull drivers over for texting alone. Since then, texting-while-driving tickets increased more than 200%, putting the number close to that of DWI/DWAI arrests.
Although the increased penalties should increase protection for everyone on the road, it seems Governor Cuomo is especially interested in young drivers. The father of three state he knows “firsthand the importance of instilling safe practices” in young drivers and helping them develop safe “lifelong habits as they learn to navigate the road.”
Governor Cuomo has called on the New York State Police to spend the summer increasing enforcement, which means more patrols and checkpoints during some of the busiest travel times. State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico has already shown support, stating “Our message is clear: motorists who use a cell phone or electronic device while driving will be ticketed.”
Stiff Penalties Get Mixed Feelings
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), drivers deal with three types of distraction–visual, manual, and cognitive–and texting-while-driving presents all three.
Still, public reaction is varied. Our own DMV.org Facebook fans are split on the issue. Some believe these more stringent penalties will help keep the roads safer; others feel stricter consequences are just another way to control folks.
How do you feel about New York’s new, tougher texting-and-driving penalties?