New York lawmakers have formally adopted what are being called the toughest penalties for distracted driving in the country.
According to a New York Newsday report, Empire State drivers caught texting while driving or using a cellular device in any way behind the wheel will be assessed harsher penalties that could lead to the loss of their driver’s license.
This report follows a recent string of reports from New York in which the problem of distracted driving or texting-while-driving has been quantified and become the focus of highway patrols across the state.
Newsday is reporting that the new laws and penalties will be:
Escalating Fines For Offenders
- A first offense will get a driver a fine of up to $150. A previous maximum fine of $100 was assessed on drivers who were caught texting or sending/checking emails while they were driving. These fines could reach $400 if the same driver is caught using their phone behind the wheel three times in an 18-month span.
- Five points will be tacked onto a driver’s license record under the new penalties put into effect recently. The previous penalty was three points. A total of 18 points over 18 months gets a suspended license in New York.
Our previous reports on these stiffer penalties notes that license suspensions will be handed to newly licensed drivers if they’re caught texting-while-driving, too.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents in New York, based on our previous reporting. Despite numerous attempts across the country to crackdown on distracted driving and texting-while-driving, the problem persists and more and more injuries and highway deaths are being blamed on distracted drivers.
In fact, Newsday reports that New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced that one in five auto accidents reported in the state are caused by a distracted driver.
This danger only helps to increase the risks drivers on Long Island take every time they get behind the wheel. Our previous reports have shown that roads on Long Island are the most dangerous in the Tri-State area, especially those in Suffolk and Nassau counties, where the latest data show that more than 200 deaths in one year were reported.
One stretch of the Southern State Parkway is so dangerous that local authorities have dubbed it “Blood Alley” due to the rash of fatal auto accidents seen on the road.