Two Democratic Nassau County legislators Wednesday called on state lawmakers to strengthen New York's law on texting while driving by supporting Gov. David A. Paterson's bill to make it a primary, rather than a secondary offense.
Secondary offense means a driver must be stopped for something else first. Nassau's stronger 2008 law was superseded by the state's, enacted late in 2009.
Judy Jacobs of Woodbury and Kevan Abrahams of Hempstead announced their backing of Paterson's bill during a news conference at a Garden City gas station, where they could point to what they said were offenders of the law approaching the Meadowbrook Parkway.
"Studies show that one in five drivers is texting while driving," said Abrahams, adding that the current $150 fine should be doubled.
The two legislators pointed out quite a few offenders, including three their photographer captured.
"Texting and driving now rivals drinking and driving" in terms of prevalence among teen drivers, according to Mutual Liberty Insurance, said Abrahams, who had about 15 Uniondale and Roosevelt high schoolers attend the news event.
Some of the youth held signs admonishing cell phone users. "Don't Text & Drive, Talk When You Arrive," said one.