New York Cracks Down On Texting While Driving
New SUVs make it easier for police to catch distracted drivers
New York State, like 39 states other states that have banned texting while driving, has issued very few tickets in relation to the problem. Gov. Andre Cuomo has expanded measures aimed at distracted driving to bring enforcement in line with the problem.
The main piece of technology helping police in their fight against texting is a new undercover police cruiser which is raised higher off the ground then a normal SUV. The higher SUVs allow police to look down into a car and see if a driver is using their phone. ABC reporters road along with police in the new cruiser. They were able to catch four people using their phones within an hour.
Along with the new cruisers the governor also increased the penalty for distracted driving from three points to five. In New York, 11 points are enough to have your drivers licenses suspended or revoked.
The majority of drivers know texting while driving is dangerous. The AAA Foundation's Traffic Safety Culture Index for 2012 found that 81 percent of drivers surveyed viewed texting while driving as "a very serious threat to safety." Sill 35 percent of those surveyed had read a text and 27 percent had sent one while driving within the previous month. So if it is dangerous, why do we still do it? Cuomo told ABC the heightened enforcement of the texting ban will help change the way New Yorkers drive for the better.
"The good news is you can change people's behavior," he told ABC News. "It's not easy. It's not fast, but you can do it and there's no doubt in my mind that we can save lives."
According to a US Today survey New York has issued about 11,259 tickets since the ban went into affect in 2009, which averages to about 2,800 a month. Some states fair far worse, with tickets issued per month numbering in the low teens. North Dakota had the lowest amount, with only 117 tickets since the ban went into affect in August 2011.
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