Are you one to text and drive? If you live in New York State, there’s good (and bad) news coming your way. First the good: this week Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled special “Texting Zones” along the New York State Thruway and other state highways. Now when your phone starts to blow up and your thumbs itch to text, you can pull over into the nearest Texting Zone to get your fix without worrying about getting fined. Now the bad: New York just raised the fine for texting while driving 365%. Ouch.
Existing Park-n-Ride facilities, rest stops, and parking areas along the state’s highways and Thruway will now double as texting havens. New York State will place 298 signs along major highways pointing drivers to the 91 Texting Zones. “With this new effort,” Governor Cuomo said, “we are sending a clear message to drivers that there is no excuse to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road because your text can wait until the next Texting Zone.”
Over the summer, New York State police cracked down on distracted drivers, big time. Between July 4 and September 2, the state issued a whopping 21,580 tickets to distracted drivers, 5,553 of which were related to texting. Compare that to 2012, when New York issued just 5,208 tickets. For you lucky texters, distracted driving will now get you five points on your driver’s license in addition to a $50-$150 fine for a first offense, up to $200 for a second offense within 18 months, and up to $400 for a third offense, according to Mashable. New York has also increased license suspension and revocation periods for distracted driving among young and new drivers.
Despite the steep ticket prices and the fancy new zones for texting, something tells me drivers won’t change their habits much. We’re simply addicted to our phones.
Do you think New York’s new “texting while driving” policies will help curb distracted driving? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
Featured image via Michael Babcock