On July 1, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill that toughens penalties for drivers who text and drive or use hand-held devices while behind the wheel, especially for younger drivers.
“Today’s new law sends a powerful message to our young and new drivers that texting-while-driving will not be tolerated here in New York State,” Cuomo said.
Junior license holders will now have their licenses suspended for 60 days following a first time offense, while second time violators will see a 60-day suspension.
Probationary licenses can also be suspended for up to six months for a second offense.
“Statistic after statistic shows that texting-while-driving is a chronic problem in our society, particularly among teenagers, and it will only get worse if we do not take action to prevent this deadly behavior,” he said.
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has also increased the number of points against a driver's license from three to five for texting while driving.
“It will make drivers of all ages think twice before taking their eyes off the road to answer a message on their phone,” Cuomo announced. “It will avoid loss of life and better protect all those traveling on our roads and highways.”
Bill co-sponsor Assemblyman David Weprin attended the signing.
“As a staunch advocate for consumer and driver’s safety, the health and safety of all New Yorkers takes primary importance to me,” Weprin said. “Cracking down on texting while driving will prevent accidents in New York State that are avoidable.”
“The number of distracted driver-related crashes have been steadily increasing, which is why this law is so important,” added New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico. “This law will help deter cell phone use which will lead to fewer accidents and will help to save lives.”