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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tougher Penalties for Texting at the Wheel

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants tougher penalties for texting at the wheel.

The governor announced last Friday that he would introduce a bill that would turn distracted driving into a primary offense, which would allow law enforcement to pull over motorists seen typing on their phones while behind the wheel.

Currently, New York motorists don't have much to worry about when it comes to texting at the wheel. It is currently considered a secondary offense: a driver must be doing something else wrong for law enforcement to pull them over.

The fine would stay the same at $150, but the governor also wants to add 3 points instead of 2 for drivers caught texting while driving. This would really impact insurance payments for drivers who are caught texting.

The message is simple: distracted driving is a serious issue. The tactic may be scaring motorists into not doing something illegal, but it might just work.

For motorists, the message is even simpler: pay a hefty fine and deal with those 3 points on their driving record, or obey the law and potentially save lives?

Officers have noted that around 3,200 tickets have been issued last year, but it is only a small fraction of what might have been issued, had texting behind the wheel been a primary offense.

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