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To Stop Teens from Texting While Driving, NY Will Suspend Licenses

Monday, July 01, 2013 - 01:51 PM

WNYC

New York is trying a new tactic to stop teens from texting and driving: suspend their licenses after a first offense. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law today enacting the new penalties making the punishment for distracted driving the same as for speeding and reckless driving.

Cuomo said, "We want to establish a behavior pattern right away for young drivers that says we know this is a big part of your life, we know this is an appendage attached to your body. [But] not when you drive the car."

Young motorists will lose their driving privileges for 60 days when caught texting or using a hand-held cell phone behind the wheel. If a teen does it again, they could lose their license for six months.

The new law applies to drivers with learner's permits and probationary or junior licenses.

Distracted driving already draws a fine but young drivers do it anyway, prompting NY legislators to seek more effective deterrents. One survey found 45 percent of students 16 and older texted or emailed while driving in the past 30 days.

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico praised the new law in a statement. "This law will help deter cell phone use which will lead to fewer accidents and will help to save lives,” he said. 

In New York, more people are injured in crashes involving a distracted driver than a drunk driver. In 2011, there were more than 25,000 fatal and personal injury crashes involving distracted driving, compared to about 4,600 caused by alcohol-related driving, according to the New York governor's office. 

For a chart explaining how the new law will affect different license types, go here

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Comments [5]

Drew from bedstuy

What about the Hasids?!

Jul. 04 2013 10:48 AM
Beatrice Finkel from Maplewood, NJ

Texting distractions are no more prevalent with teens than they are with adults. We ALL need to know there are times we must disconnect from our incessantly demanding screens to give our full attention to other matters such as, driving, crossing a street, and communicating with family and friends in real time. I am 60 and more guilt of screen addiction than my 20 year old son.

Jul. 02 2013 09:23 PM
Patric Morrison

Regardless of the threat of fines, license suspension or even revocation, people are still going to continue to text or use a cellphone. The only way to put a stop to it, is to block the incoming signal. I have a patent pending on such a device and cannot understand why it has not been picked up and mandated. If there is a problem with the FCC and laws governing the airwaves, then perhaps we need to amend those laws to fit the times we live in.

Jul. 02 2013 08:38 PM
Joe

Agreed. No good reason not to keep all penalties the same for all drivers.

Jul. 02 2013 12:08 AM
Jesse

Why only teen drivers? The vast majority of texters are adults with full licenses.

Show me stats which prove that only teens are texting, otherwise this is a useless measure aimed to not inconvenience most people, which will save few if ANY lives.

Jul. 01 2013 06:43 PM

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