Drivers in New York beware. The Senate has put through a new law that will make texting while driving a primary offense. New York is just one of a few states left where texting and driving (or talking on the phone and driving) is a secondary offense. Out of 31 states that ban using mobile devices while driving, New York is one of four states where it isn’t a primary offense.
What does this mean for drivers who use their mobile devices while on the road? As a secondary offense, police can’t stop you just because they see you on the phone (or texting). The driver has to be in violation of traffic or driving laws; like speeding.
By making the act of using a mobile device while driving a primary offense; if the police see you doing it, they can stop you, period. It is considered as “distracted driving”. States across the nation have started campaigns against distracted driving, due to the tremendous increase in accidents, fatalities and injuries that are caused by it.
Compared to the overall total of tickets given for mobile phone usage while driving, New York gave out just over three thousand tickets statewide last year. In contrast, across thirty other states where mobile device usage and driving are a primary offense; more than 332 thousand tickets were given out. That roughly averages 11 thousand tickets per state.
The data shows that drivers who are using mobile devices are four times more likely to be in a serious accident. The most recent statistics reveal that out of 30,797 fatal accidents, 16 percent of those were caused by driver distraction. More than 440 thousand people were injured in accidents that involved distracted driving.
The Senate passed legislation is headed to the Assembly for another vote.