In New York City, if you’re caught texting while driving and of a certain age, you could lose your license. The Epoch Times reports a new law went into effect on November 1 that will give stiff penalties to drivers under the age of 18 caught texting while behind the wheel.
People with driver’s licenses under the age of 20 make up 10 percent of all vehicle crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA says that each year, people involved in distracted driving motor vehicle accidents kill more than 3,000 people. Another 420,000 are injured by drivers who are doing things like texting, talking on their cell phones, looking at something in their car and not at the road, et cetera.
“There have been far too many avoidable tragedies due to texting while driving and with these new penalties, we are seeking to change the behavior of young drivers now, and make New York’s roadways safer for all,” said Cuomo, according to Epoch Times. “Driving habits are developed early, and we are sending a message that texting while driving is unsafe, unacceptable, and downright dangerous.”
Of the 43 states that have laws against texting while driving, New York is one of the strictest. Most states have laws on the books that will do things like issue fines or put penalty points on a driver’s license.
Though the youngest set of drivers is specifically being targeted, all drivers will now need to be more careful about texting while driving — or face the financial consequences.
Any driver caught texting while behind the wheel could be fined as much as $200 the first time, according to the New York Daily News. That’s a $50 increase from what the fine used to be before the new law went into effect on November 1. The second time someone is caught engaged in the offending cell phone behavior within the 18 months following their first offense, they can be charged up to $250. That’s another increase of $50.
For those drivers who just can’t control themselves and keep texting despite racking up expensive tickets, third and subsequent offenses can cost them up to $450, up from $400.
All told, this means that in New York State, if you text while you drive, it could be an expensive habit. A driver caught texting while driving at least three times in an 18-month span could end up paying up to $900 in fines or lose their license.
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]