• Jul 11th 2013 at 1:47PM
  • 62

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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Where does it stop? At what point do all of you who want texting to be banned, feel that government has enough laws on the books to make you safer? Do you not realize what these laws do? Instead of enforcing existing laws that deal with how you operate your vehicle, these kinds of laws authorize government to micro-manage your life. Do you really want some government agent to be looking in your car at every opportunity to make sure you're not doing anything illegal or dangerous? Why not put a cop in every home? We could then end child abuse, domestic violence, drug use, etc... My point is this - if someone is texting but they obey ALL traffic laws - then why stop them? Put another way, if a vehicle swerves into oncoming traffic, doesn't stay in their lane, or fails to stop in time, does it really matter WHAT caused those violations of EXISTING LAWS? The problem with banning specific things is that they don't encompass all possible distractions. What about putting on makeup? Changing the radio? Turning on your GPS? Climate control? Baby screaming in the back seat, sun in the eyes? Get the point? Either a driver is able to obey existing moving law or not. If not, cite them for the law they violated. But don't get in the car with them to snoop out what they do in private. That being said, what about the large digital billboards that say, "Don't Drink And Drive" or, "Click it or Tiket", or "Silver Alert".... How are these ANY different than texting and driving? They take the driver's eyes off the road, and have them fixed as they wait for the message to scroll to the next part. Hypocrisy, pure and simple.
      Charles A. Rezek
      • 2 Years Ago
      Here's an idea -- make it a Felony! If you text and drive you are no better than a "Blitzed" Drunk Driver! Only this is worse because you have complete control of your faculties, a drunk driver often doesn't know what he or she is doing! So if you get caught texting while driving, you should be punished even more than a drunk driver. Impound the car, Suspend their license for 6 months, and put them in JAIL right then and there. You'll see texting and driving stop immediately! (And make the punishment Progressive). The irony is that I always thought those people at M.A.D.D. were a bunch pompous, heavy-handed, tea drinkers! Now, they too can have their chance at bat! With any luck, the laws will be just as harsh on one of them texting as they were only too “Gung-Ho” to punish the guy that felt like having a beer or two after work. Now they too can be the ones begging for leniency.
      • 2 Years Ago
        • 2 Years Ago
        Amen! One morning while driving to work, I was behind a woman on I-75 who was talking on a cell phone, putting on her makeup, smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee (I assume) all at the same time. When I shared that experience upon arriving at work, I was met with disdain and accusations that I was a woman hater. Get a life!!!
      • 2 Years Ago
      It is amazing that people can be so stupid as to either drive while texting or even walk on a busy street while texting. To me (I was born in 1945) a cell phone is a convienance NOT an attachment to my hand. Most younger people today seem to be unable to function, or even survive, without having a phone in their hand. I fail to understand how a group of girls or boys (not necessarily teens) can go out to lunch or shopping and never talk to each other but spend the entire time together texting other people. I watched a woman in her late 20's or early 30's shopping while talking on her phone the entire time. People no longer socialize they "phone-alize". It is a sad commentary on our society today that there is so much dependency on a small piece plastic, sort of like a drug addiction.
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's called multitasking they are great at doing 'cover sheets' at work and the bosses think he is great they don't see the trail of incomplete jobs he leaves behind him 'Keep your hands upon the wheel and your eyes upon the road -Jim Morrison M
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wouldn't it be easier to just set up cameras near signalized intersections? That's were they really start texting. One camera can probably cover at least two approaches. They can be in radio contact with a cop stationed a bit further down the road.
      • 2 Years Ago
      The road is not the only place these text nuts are dangerous. I was almost run down by a woman with a shopping cart in the grocery store a few days ago. And she wasn't moving slow either. One hand on the cart handle, the other hand busy pecky away at the keyboard on her smart phone and never once looking up to see where she was going. I jumped out of the way and she cruised right on by never even knowing she almost hit some one.
        • 2 Years Ago
        The same thing happened to me but he was on his bicycle.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Texting while driving is certainly distracting for the driver but what about all the Internet, phone and other communications technologies that the automakers are putting into new cars these days? They claim they're doing it in a way that is not distracting to the driver but the government knows this is nonsense (as do the rest of us). The reality is that the politicians will not push back on the automakers because the automakers provide millions in campaign funds, whereas John Doe texting on his phone has no such clout..
        • 2 Years Ago
        Unfortunately you are right. It's a shame when the profit margin is pitted against human life, especially as that technology could be used to keep drivers from using phones period.
      • 2 Years Ago
      soko355, my sentiments exactly. Who wrote this article, a first grader? Or better yet, who proofread it?
      • 2 Years Ago
      It's about time someone in NY did something smart All we ever hear there is the stupid things Bloomberg does
      • 2 Years Ago
      increasing the distracted driving points from 3 to 5 should quickly suspend the licenses of just nearly all young moms w kids in the back seat.
      • 2 Years Ago
      i'm sure cuomo's daughters text while driving too!
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