By Angy Altamirano: Queens Courier Staff
Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced new actions to strengthen penalties for texting-while-driving in order to keep all New Yorkers safe on the road.
Effective June 1, Cuomo directed the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to establish tougher penalties for texting-while-driving for all drivers and new penalties for young and new drivers.
“As the father of three teenagers, I know firsthand the importance of instilling safe practices in our young drivers who are developing lifelong habits as they learn to navigate the road,” said Cuomo. “Inattention and inexperience is a deadly combination – one this legislation seeks to deter. We are urging young and inexperienced drivers to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, while putting stronger penalties in place for drivers of all ages who violate the law and put others in danger. No parent should have to experience losing a child at the hands of a text message.”
Starting this weekend, Cuomo has also asked the New York State Police to increase enforcement of the texting-while-driving ban during the summer.
Under this new order, the DMV will increase the number of points, from three to five points earned on a person’s driving record if they are convicted for texting-while-driving and any other cell-phone related violations.
Cuomo is also proposing legislation that would impose the same penalties on drivers for texting-while-driving that they currently receive for speeding and reckless driving.
Probationary and junior licenses would be suspended for 60 days for the first conviction. If there is another violation within six months of the license being restored, probationary licenses would be revoked for six months and junior licenses for 60 days.
“With the increased use of mobile devices, we have all become more concerned about safety on our highway,” said DMV Commissioner Barbara J. Fiala. “I congratulate Governor Cuomo on his continued efforts to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and for putting increased penalties in place for those who engage in the dangerous behavior of texting while driving.”