NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Talking and driving has been illegal in New York State for nearly a decade but starting Wednesday motorists face a more severe punishment for doing so.

One driver tells 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg that he still talks on his handheld cell phone behind the wheel

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports Suffolk County cops have already started cracking down harder on drivers

Now, in addition to a ticket and $100 fine, a violation will cost you two points on your license. Points can raise auto insurance costs and lead to the suspension of a driver’s license if a person gets 11 points within 18 months.

A two-point penalty has already been in place in New York for over a year for texting while driving. The DMV decided to add the points-punishment for talking in hopes of reducing the number of distracted driving incidents.

The department said distracted drivers contribute to a fifth of all accidents statewide.

New York was the first state to ban driving and talking on handheld cell phones in November 2001.

Related: NYC Lawmaker Proposes Ban On Talking and Walking

Do you think a harsher penalty will deter drivers from using their cell phones? Let us know below

Comments (37)
  1. haywoodjablowme says:

    lol. they can be blinded with dental floss

    1. voiceofreason says:

      i wish you could just beat up an asian and not get in trouble

  2. Al says:

    Confused in NY has left me confused in Florida. I still say the problems with cars is the NUT behind the wheel

  3. NYC Cabbie says:

    It’s haard to type as I drivee. Anyway, what’s the biig deal?

    1. L.SIMON says:


  4. Rev. Canon Dr. Glenworth D. Miles says:

    Cars do not drive themselves, people do. When you get behind the wheel of a car, you are reponsible for ensuring that this machinery is operated in a manner that is safe for both driver, passenger and other drivers on the road as well as pedestrians and all others who use the road. Using a cell phone while driving impairs one’s ability to maneuver a vehicle in a manner that is safe for all. Further, using a cellphone while driving knowing that the law prohibits such useage in this manner constitutes a criminal action if an accident should occur while using a cellphone.

    1. Al says:

      Al Miles agrees with you completely. A young lady was so engrossed in a telephone call her reflexes weren’t quick enough to prevent a light bumper hit on the rear of my car. I reside in a heavy traffic area and there are constant fender benders from persons multi tasking or on the phone. Driving is a full time occupation when you are the NUT behind the wheel.

  5. Jake says:

    I will never understand the people in high end cars holding cell phones on their ears.Their cars cost 70-80 thousand dollars and they don’t buy a hands free device! It’s quite obvious,95% of the time,that the car swerving in front of you has the driver texting or holding a cell phone.Those who don’t think it is a problem have their head in the sand(or somewhere else).

  6. Barb says:

    I never hold my cell phone in the car…I have a Blue Ant (Blue Tooth Device) and I have voice command on my phone, so when the phone rings, I say OK and it answers my phone and the speaker comes on…If I need to make a call, I say “call someone” and it asks who to call. Your contact list has already been loaded into the Blue Ant, so you say the name of the person you want to call and it dials the number. I have had this Blue Tooth for 4-5 yrs so why don’t more people own one?

    1. Al says:

      You have an excellent point there. If you can afford a phone and the gas to be sporting around you need to be safe both for yourself and others. A Lawsuit or fine would cost more than the initial purchase price of the Blue Tooth. Besides that a Blue Tooth will get you more respect and raise your class status tremendously..

  7. Claudia says:

    I’m all for it but I doubt the fine and points will apply to everyone since some of the biggest offenders of talking while driving I’ve seen lately have been the police. The big question is who will ticket and fine the police, city officials, diplomats, etc who still break this law every day?

    1. johnny says:

      Nobody will as working for the city earns you a free pass to break vehicle traffic laws. This law is a bunch of garbage.

  8. Jimmy D'lox says:

    Hey, why not make cellphones that explode if they sense that they are traveling at more than two miles per hour. That should solve the problem. And no need to worry about detonations for those who walk and talk because no one walks fast in NYC anymore. That’s because they are all over weight and/or on drugs.

    1. KPMc says:

      I often wonder how pathetic peoples lives become that they go to a news website for an area they don’t even live in and then make comments about said area.

      I think you have a little jealousy of NYC or else you wouldn’t be here.

      BTW… a moderate walking speed is THREE MPH genius.

  9. martin r says:

    i have for years now been against drivers talking on phone i dont know anyone who can do 2 things while driving such as eating putting make up on listening to ipad its ridiculous and dangerous to others like children senior citizens jail time might stop it more please help dont drink and drive dont talk text and drive please the life you save might be your own and mine

  10. Cos says:

    Let’s be frank, shall we? Although I agree that texting/talking while driving is dangerous and does deserve to be treated as a ‘moving violation’, the truth of this is that NY is broke. You won’t hear the media say it, but it’s true. Thus, they use the tragedy of death to stoke the flames of ‘income’. Much like activist groups do, the tragic death of an innocent life is usually the selling point that allows this disgusting act to occur. The state of NY doesn’t care if you live or die, they just care wheter you can pay for it or not…

    1. KPMc says:

      The fine was already in place. This puts points on your license. While you may be right… NYC (and every other municipality in the USA) is living on borrowed time financially but please read the articles before making your (wrong) mater-of-fact statements.

  11. Frank says:

    I drive 40K miles per year. Yesterday I saw a NY driver in the left lane of the NJ turnpike bounce off the divider wall while texting. A normal person would move over and collect their thoughts. Not this guy. DRIVING IS A FULL TIME JOB. I think it should be 3 points and a $500 fine for 1st offense. Automatic suspension on 3rd with $5000 fine.

  12. Confused in NY says:

    I know, I know why are there so many moaners here? I have earnestly embarked on a campaign to get a blue tooth but have met with little success. I have done everything by the book so far, eating sweets, drinking large quantities of soda, not brushing or flossing and STILL I have only been able to achieve a yellow tooth (teeth actually).

    What am I doing wrong Val? Will this get points of my license? Please, PLEASE help me!

  13. WhatAJoke says:

    It’s not holding the cell phone that’s distracting…it’s the conversation. It’s even more distracting to fumble for a hands-free device when connecting to a call!

    And texting while driving is only worth 2 points?

  14. OZZFEST says:


    1. Geezer says:

      Yeah, times were tough back then, I had to walk two miles to school in the snow (uphill both ways), The ice man would climb the stairs to our 3rd floor walk-up so we could keep the body and soul together. Dad would crank-up the model T and off we would go for a jaunty ride in the country. No cell phones, gps, mp3 player, anti-lock brakes, leather seats… come to think of it, no windows, seat belts, or cup holders!

      Good times, good times

    2. alex says:

      amen! doesn’t take a genius to put the hands free together when you get into the car if you just have to be on the phone, but as one person wrote, its the conversation and not paying attention that is the problem. Oh please let Michigan be next, I live in a town where the joke is…if you can’t get a license anywhere, go to Lansing. and this are some of the non driving-est folks and add a cell….

    3. DR RUTH SAYS... says:

      and your dammed right..but if i was the loose your car..then your license..and lets face it..their are many idiots out there who have trouble chewing gum and just walking..i live in Brooklyn..and these russian vodka heads drive drunk and talk on their cells..great combo..stupid drives and speaks..but you wonder who would want to speak to these cretins in the first place…

  15. Yea Right says:

    I love how the government is always there to tell citizens what is right and wrong, what is acceptable and unacceptable, legal and illegal. All the while politicians have bankrupted the country and cost the average working stiff either their job, benefits, salary, pension, social security, and basically quality of life. Only a fool would believe the government gives a damn about anyone’s safety. So by that logic, the government wants you to be safe on the road, and broke and destitute by retirement. What a joke.

    1. Kris says:

      Why do people think just because politicians did A means they can’t do B. Doesn’t matter to me who they bankrupted. If stupid New Yorkers continue to talk while driving and put me and my family at risk, then by all means, go ahead and make that law stronger.

      If you’re cranky about politicians doing OTHER things, complain about THAT. Seriously, this isn’t that hard, people.

      1. Kris the Dim Light Bulb says:

        It’s about credibility and honesty. Why do the American people have to rise to a higher standard than those that govern them? Why should I listen to the judgments of others who fail to govern their own lives? It comes down to the whole basic framework of government. Those that govern us and expect us to follow basic laws, break the laws they enact, specifically those that cause greater damage and harm to the entire country for generations to come, far greater than any stupid cell phone related accident. Wake up, get informed, and get a grip on reality and how the implications of fiscal irresponsibility overshadow cell phone irresponsibility. This entire country could fall apart because of its debt and you’re concerned about cell phone laws? Moron.

      2. nathan says:

        1127 – You really are pathetic. No wonder you have no friends.

      3. Kris says:

        Debt isn’t going to kill me and my family. People like you talking on your cell phone while driving might. And if you can’t see that, and still want to whine about WHO is making the laws instead of what the laws are designed to do, then you are the moron, not me.

        Also known as, I’d rather be poor than dead.

  16. Puh-lease says:

    Points, shmoints. Laws, shmaws. Listen, the only 100% effective way to stop phoning while driving is this: a signal blocker that stops cell signals while the vehicle is in motion. It’s not rocket science.

  17. Mike says:

    My question is why isn’t it across the board. You have State and City workers(cops included) talking on their phones all te tme. I even see then while on the beat. Please, save the “I’m doing “official Business”.

  18. Mr. Armenia says:

    PaPa JoeThis is a violation of the privacy act.

    If an emergency occurs and its a matter of life and death

  19. PaPa Joe says:

    The penalties are not severe enough. Eleven points in eighteen months, why not 8 in 12 months,suspended license for a year? Hundred dollar fine, many people can afford that, why not first time $150, second – $250, third $500. Talking or texting while driving is, at least, as dangerous as driving drunk. There must be a zero tolerance. If someone does not care or is not aware of the safety of themselves or their passengers, knock youself out – but – leave me and mine alone.

  20. No20 says:

    It will increase revenue for the state and local law enforcement communities who need to pay for pensions and cop salaries. Safety is not the issue, except to the degree they found someone willing to quote statistics to help the cause.

    1. Getalife says:

      No2O: What an assinine comment. Every single study done on cell phone use while driving indicates greatly increased driver distraction and propensity to deviate from safe driving, obviously increasing the likelihood of accidents. Use some common sense and lose the tired cynicism

      1. Ignorante Elephante says:

        I agree with No20. Who’s kidding who? The more points, the more suspensions, and the more suspensions, the more fines and fees collected. The radio in the car is equally as distractive as is a “hands-free” device. Anything to generate revenue on the backs of the working class. Some of you think signal blockers are the answer. What then happens when there is an emergency, someone trapped in an overturned or burning car or a carjacker? I, for one, value the ability to use my cell phone in case of emergency

    2. PolishTeddy says:

      I am able to control my vehicle and drive safely while drinking a beverage, changing the radio, while on the phone and lighting up a cigarette. And that was while I was drunk. Why can’t others pay attention to the road and its hazards like me?

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