Proposed Texting and Driving law Would Prevent New York Crashes

At this point in New York and throughout the entire U.S., it is no surprise to hear that texting or talking on the phone while driving is not smart. It’s not safe. And in more and more areas, it’s not legal. New York could become one of those states that outlaws texting while driving, making it a primary traffic violation. The goal, of course, is to prevent car accidents that take the lives of pedestrians, drivers and passengers every day. Earlier this week, the New York Senate had the bill before it and casted a vote. The outcome overwhelmingly approves the proposal to outlaw texting while driving, with a 57-3 vote. Now, it is up to the Assembly and state Governor to determine the final decision on the legislation. If passed, drivers who police see and suspect of texting behind the wheel can be pulled over and cited for the offense. While that might sound like a difficult behavior to regulate and confirm, sources say that New York law already prohibits using a hand-held phone while driving. Therefore, an officer wouldn’t need to prove that someone was sending a text message; he would need to simply have seen the suspect holding a cell phone. New York drivers are allowed to talk on the phone while driving, but only if they are using a hands-free setup. If caught using a hand-held, whether texting or talking, they can only be charged for the violation as a secondary offense. The main change should this new proposal be passed, therefore, would be escalating the cell phone/texting violations to offenses that alone warrant being pulled over and ticketed. Sources indicate that the tickets would each cost an offender $150. Is any text or call worth that much? What do you think about the issue of texting while driving? Should New York lawmakers move forward with the plan to further criminalize distracted driving? Source The Wall Street Journal: “NY senators vote to toughen texting-at-wheel law,” Associated Press, 3 May 2011