Cuomo On Texting While Driving Bill: Sometimes You Need to Enforce Common Sense

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 - 02:56 PM

Governor Andrew Cuomo (photo by Kate Hinds)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that strengthens enforcement against drivers who use handheld devices behind the wheel.

The new law makes using electronic devices while driving a primary traffic offense -- meaning that a driver doesn't need to be stopped for another offense in order to be ticketed.  As the governor put it: "If you are seen by a police officer with a device, a handheld device, any flavor, any electronic device, that is illegal."

The penalty for violating the law will be three points and a $150 fine.

The bill also increases the penalty for using cell phones from two to three points on a driver's license.

Thirty-four states, as well as the District of Columbia and Guam already make texting while driving a primary violation.

Speaking Tuesday at the Jacob Javits Convention Center with a backdrop of police cars, a highway sign, state troopers, and the family of a texting-while-driving victim, Cuomo said he knew the lure that electronics have, particularly for younger drivers.  He called texting while driving a relatively recent phenomenon - "my generation, we had two cans and a string connected, that was communication for us" -- but added that drivers need to understand how critical it is to pay attention while driving.

He added: "It is common sense -- but sometimes you need law enforcement, and you need laws, to remind society of common sense and enforce common sense. And that's what today is all about."



Comments [4]

Ford Fort Worth

We have a serious texting while driving epidemic in the U.S. Ford has a new feature available which will read your text messages out loud through your speakers. However, I think the ideal scenario would be to just drive without any distractions period including mental ones. Personally I find even Bluetooth distracting because you're still mentally not focused on driving.

Nov. 27 2011 06:13 PM

I looked it up, and apparently devices affixed to a surface are exempt. It would be helpful to post the full text of the law, though; it is a bit confusing as described in the news.

Jul. 12 2011 06:00 PM

So, are GPS navigation systems now illegal? What about hands-free cell phones? What about the radio? "Any electronic device" would seem to include all of those things. Or, if you mount your cell phone in a holder so it is not "handheld" does it become legal?

Jul. 12 2011 05:13 PM

Here's a great article on the real impact of no-texting laws

Jul. 12 2011 03:09 PM

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