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Texting while driving violations increase, making roads safer for the rest of us

Texting while driving increased 50 percent last year

Texting while driving increased 50 percent last year and two out of 10 drivers say they've sent text messages or emails while behind the wheel, according to a recent survey. (Sept. 20, 2011) (Credit: AP)

If you’re one of the many frustrated drivers who all too often sees some dope driving while texting behind the wheel, then you should appreciate that New York State has had a four-fold increase in such violations.

That is, more people are getting busted for a reckless habit that could cost lives.

Thanks to a strengthening  of the law, police have more power to pull over a driver if they are texting and driving. The 2011 improvement gives law enforcement the authority to stop motorists using a handheld device as a primary traffic offence. It used to be secondary offence, meaning one had to be doing something else wrong to see those sirens flashing in the rear-view mirror.


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The law also upped the penalty from two to three points on a driver's record for using a handheld device.

In one year, tickets have gone from 4,569 to 20,958, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office, which released the figures this week.

"Using a handheld device while driving puts other motorists in danger and can lead to tragic consequences,” Cuomo, echoing the famous lyrics of one of his favorite bands, the Doors, said in statement Thursday. “These tickets should send a resounding message to all drivers: keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributed more than 3,000 deaths last year to distracted driving, calling it a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways, according to the governor’s release. And studies show that drivers who text are four times more likely to get into an accident.

In suburban counties, the increases are sizeable. In Westchester, for example, 148 tickets jumped to 720 in one year span. In Suffolk, it went from 185 to 908, and in Nassau, 162 to 505.

Here’s a look at the statewide numbers:

COUNTY

TICKETS ISSUED 7/12/10- 7/12/2011

TICKETS ISSUED 7/12/2011-7/12/2012

ALBANY

75

539

ALLEGANY

5

14

BRONX

91

900

BROOME

22

103

CATTARAUGUS

10

45

CAYUGA

9

76

CHAUTAUQUA

23

130

CHEMUNG

27

92

CHENANGO

4

40

CLINTON

16

73

COLUMBIA

5

54

CORTLAND

22

85

DELAWARE

1

18

DUTCHESS

59

324

ERIE

226

1,418

ESSEX

6

10

FRANKLIN

5

27

FULTON

5

21

GENESEE

8

50

GREENE

11

16

HAMILTON

 

1

HERKIMER

11

52

JEFFERSON

12

73

KINGS

540

3,234

LEWIS

4

31

LIVINGSTON

23

50

MADISON

19

75

MONROE

110

687

MONTGOMERY

17

45

NASSAU

162

505

NEW YORK

807

3,714

NIAGARA

73

214

ONEIDA

38

126

ONONDAGA

797

479

ONTARIO

8

87

ORANGE

67

292

ORLEANS

 

8

OSWEGO

14

46

OTSEGO

7

61

PUTNAM

22

75

QUEENS

401

3,334

RENSSELAER

21

163

RICHMOND

157

205

ROCKLAND

69

151

SARATOGA

42

326

SCHENECTADY

18

69

SCHOHARIE

4

9

SCHUYLER

3

4

SENECA

8

41

ST LAWRENCE

12

265

STEUBEN

14

108

SUFFOLK

185

908

SULLIVAN

5

32

TIOGA

13

67

TOMPKINS

20

139

ULSTER

54

246

WARREN

15

166

WASHINGTON

10

21

WAYNE

6

74

WESTCHESTER

148

720

WYOMING

3

18

YATES

 

2

Tags: texting , driving , violations , new york state

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