Repeat speeders could face stiffer penalties

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New York drivers repeatedly caught speeding 20 mph over the limit could find it harder to plead to lesser violations under the budget framework agreed by the governor and the State Legislature.

The Cuomo administration is going to make the records of those pleas more available to judges to "correct the situation where people will plea down to ticket after ticket and they don't get points on their record," a state budget official said.

"There have been some brutal accidents with sort of 'pattern speeders,' " he added.

For example, if a speeding violation of more than 20 mph over the limit is pleaded down to "parking on the pavement," no points are assessed. "Failure to obey a traffic device" is a two-point violation, while speeding violations carry more points, the budget official said.

The state's surcharge on the local fine for exceeding the speed limit by 20 mph also will rise to $88 from $80.

If a motorist does plead down, the state will collect a $25 surcharge in addition to what the locality is paid.

The point system was not changed. Driving up to 10 mph over the limit is a three-point violation, 11 to 20 mph incurs four points, 21 to 30 mph carries six points, and 31 to 40 mph puts eight points on a license. Motorists caught driving even faster incur 11 points, the budget official said.

In addition, under the new budget agreement, motorists who talk or text on cellphones while driving also will pay higher fines. A new minimum fine of $150 was established, which rises to $200 for a second violation within 18 months, and to $400 for a third or more infractions, the budget official said.

Drivers now are subject to a maximum fine of $100 for using their cellphones; $150 for texting, he said.

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