Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that as a result of the strict, new law to prevent distracted driving, law enforcement officials have issued 118,757 tickets since July 2011 for using an electronic handheld device while driving.
The Governor introduced legislation to strengthen enforcement of texting-while-driving violations in June 2011, and signed the new penalties into law in July 2011. The legislation makes using an electronic handheld device while driving primary traffic offense, giving law enforcement the power to stop drivers solely for engaging in this activity. In addition, the Governor increased the penalty for using a cellular phone without a hands-free device or a handheld device while driving from two to three points on one's license through changes in state regulations. From July 12, 2011 to February 7, 2012, New York State has issued 7, 495 tickets for texting-while-driving and 111,262 for using a handheld electronic device while driving.
"Texting while driving is illegal and endangers the lives of New Yorkers across the state," Governor Cuomo said. "These tickets should send a resounding message to all drivers: keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. I thank the State Police and local law enforcement for their dedication to ensuring the safety of the people of the state of New York."
Joseph A. D'Amico, Superintendent of the New York State Police, said, "These numbers speak for themselves. The Governor knew that this law would help New York law enforcement fight distracted driving and impose more severe penalties on those breaking the law so that they do not repeat it. It is essential that law enforcement continue to be vigilant in enforcing this law so that we can reduce distracted driving and keep drivers safe."
Barbara Fiala, Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles, said, "I want to commend Governor Cuomo for strengthening the efforts of law enforcement by making texting while driving a primary offense. The Department of Motor Vehicles and the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee remain committed to the mission of lowering deaths caused by cell phone use and texting while driving. With more than 5,500 deaths and more than 440,000 injuries nationwide each year, we know that we have a long way to go in not only educating the motoring public but in changing their driving behaviors."
Between January 1, 2011 and July 11, 2011, New York issued 2,691 tickets for texting-while-driving. Since July 12, 2011, New York issued 7,495 tickets for texting-while-driving offenses.