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New York State Lawmakers Pass Crackdown On Teen Texting And Driving

New Law Would Mean A 60-Day Suspension For A Teen Driver's First Offense
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces stiffer penalties for texting while driving (Credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces stiffer penalties for texting while driving (Credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York State Legislature on Wednesday passed a new law cracking down on young drivers who are caught texting and driving.

Under the new legislation approved by the state Senate and Assembly Wednesday, drivers with permits and probationary and junior licenses will face a 60-day suspension for a first offense when caught texting or talking on a handheld cell phone while driving.

A second offense within six months would revoke a probationary license for six months and a junior license for 60 days.

The traffic violations already carry fines.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will now sign the legislation. He said it was a much-needed move.

“Inattention and inexperience is a deadly combination and no parent should have to experience losing a child at the hands of a text message,” Cuomo said in a statement. “I applaud my colleagues in the Legislature for their swift action in passing this necessary law.”

Sponsors of the legislation cited a 2011 survey showing 45 percent of students 16 and older texted or emailed while driving in the previous 30 days.

The new legislation was passed less than a week after another set of tough new regulations on texting and driving went ito effect.

Cuomo this past Friday announced a major crackdown on the practice of texting while driving in New York. The penalty has increased from three to five points off the driver’s licenses of any motorists who is caught and ticketed.

The penalty applies to any kind of cell phone activity while driving.

Cuomo said he spends a lot of time in a car and he sees people texting while driving every day. New Yorkers echoed those sentiments.

New York reported the number of cell phone-related crashes more than doubled from 2005 to 2011.

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