Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced yesterday that tickets issued to motorists for texting while driving increased 35% statewide from 2013 to 2014, as police continue to crack down on distracted drivers. Improving safety on the roads is a priority for Governor Cuomo, who has spearheaded several initiatives targeted at reducing distracted driving, including raising the number of points on such tickets, raising the fines and creating “texting zones” on state highways. “This reckless behavior endangers everyone on the road and has resulted in far too much needless tragedy,” Governor Cuomo said.
Statewide, police agencies handed out 75,353 tickets in 2014 for texting while driving, compared to 55,673 in 2013. The biggest increase was in New York City, where tickets jumped from 31,835 in 2013 to 47,914 in 2014 – an increase of 50%. Since 2011, when New York State first enacted tough new driving while texting laws, tickets have increased more than 700%. Only 9,015 tickets were given statewide in 2011.
Under current New York State law, motorists caught texting and driving face up to a $450 fine and five points on their license. Probationary and junior drivers could face a 120 day suspension for a first offense, and can lose their license for one year if a second offense is committed within six months.
Our office sees many cell phone and texting & driving violations being issued especially in New York City, Nassau County and Suffolk County. They are often issued at intersections where a motorist is stopped at a light as well as in toll plazas. A police officer on foot can easily catch motorists committing these offenses. Further, these charges can be difficult to successfully defend especially in New York City. For your own safety (and that of others), PLEASE, PLEASE put your iPhone or other device away while driving.