The number of tickets issued for texting-while-driving has doubled statewide since a new law made it easier for police to nab violators, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said Wednesday.
In August, the first full month since the law passed, police issued tickets to 1,082 drivers using hand-held devices behind the wheel. That was more than double the number of tickets issued in August of last year. In the first six months of 2011, texting while driving averaged 427 tickets monthly.
"We were serious when this law passed: texting while driving is illegal and the law is being enforced, so don't do it," Cuomo said of the law he signed in July.
The new law makes using handheld devices while driving a primary ticket offense, so cops are able to pull over offenders solely for that infraction. The new law also increased the penalty from a two- to a three-point offense, resulting in a fine of up to $150.
The federal Department of Transportation officials releasedA a poll done jointly withby Consumer Reports magazine in March showing showed young drivers were more likely to use cell phones while driving and that 30% of them recently texted while driving.
In 2009, 16% of fatal accidents on U.S. roads were caused by distracted driving, and 20% of those injured in car accidents were involved in a crash where distracted driving was at least partly to blame, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.