NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Governor Andrew Cuomo is making a new push to increase fines and penalties against distracted drivers in New York state.
Cuomo’s proposal would make texting, tweeting and gaming at the wheel a primary offense. Currently, violations are issued only when drivers are caught for other offenses like speeding.
Despite the fact that texting at the wheel became prohibited in 2009, less than 3,200 tickets were handed out last year compared to nearly 350,000 tickets given to drivers using hand held cell phones, WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane reported.
WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane Speaks With Robert Sinclair Of AAA
Robert Sinclair, Jr., of New York AAA, called texting and driving “the most dangerous distraction that exists.”
Under Cuomo’s proposal, texting and driving will result in 3 points — up from 2 — on one’s license. Violators could also face a fine of up to $150.
“The current law is pretty weak in that it’s a secondary offense,” Sinclair said. “It makes sense that the penalties are much stronger than they are currently.”
The new penalty would be applied to drivers caught using smartphones and laptops, but would not apply to mounted GPS units. A similar proposal was made by former Governor David Paterson, but was not approved last year.
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