Texting while driving
New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that state and local police have stepped up patrols statewide to crack down on mobile phone use while driving.
April is National Distracted Driving Month. The distracted driving campaign across New Jersey runs through April 21.
Hundreds of police departments in the Garden State are focusing in April on enforcing laws aimed at preventing motorists from talking on phones and texting.
Safety advocates are lobbying now for a total ban on driver phone use, pointing to studies that headsets do not reduce drive distraction.
New York has given state police 32 tall, unmarked SUVs to better peer down at drivers’ hands, part of one of the nation’s most aggressive attacks on texting while driving.
The former governor said that texting behind the wheel, even at a red light, is dangerous.
Jennifer Sahoye, 35, was originally charged with causing death while driving with a suspended license in the Oct. 10 crash on Routes 1 & 9 in Newark. Further investigation revealed Sahoye was texting while driving at the time of the crash, Essex County prosecutors said.
Authorities call it “high-visibility enforcement” intended to call attention to a law that took effect Oct. 1. It allows reporting of distracted driving offenses to insurance companies and increases fines for texting and using hand-held phones while driving.
Auto insurance company Plymouth Rock surveyed 1,000 drivers between the ages of 18 and 25 in the state.
Texting while driving is against the law in New York, but texting while sitting at a red light is not.
Officials at the Jersey City Medical Center said the majority of people who take the walking course fail it.
More than 30 unmarked New York State Police SUVs were said to be patrolling parkways, enabling troopers to see which drivers are texting behind the wheel.
The legislation approved by the Senate and Assembly applies to drivers with permits and probationary or junior licenses.
State Sen. James Holzapfel (R-Ocean County) introduced the measure over concerns about the rise in accidents linked to texting and calling while driving.
New York motorists are advised to think twice before texting and driving, as tough new regulations go into effect Saturday in New York State.