New York residents who text and drive are going to be facing increased penalties following an administrative order. The order was announced by the state’s governor, and those who are found guilty of not using a headset to talk or texting while driving will have five points added to their license, up from three. It only takes 11 points accrued in an 18-month span for someone’s license to be suspended. The goal of increasing the punishment for these violations is to reduce car accidents related to distracted driving.
Between 2005 and 2011, the number of accidents caused in the state by distracted driving due to cell phone use increased by 143 percent. In 2011 alone, over 25,000 people were injured or killed by drivers using cell phones, but only 4,600 were caused by drunk driving in the same time frame. A father of a victim of distracted driving believes that people need to pay attention to driving and not their cell phones.
In addition to increasing the penalties for texting or talking without a headset for regular drivers, the governor has asked the legislator to pass a law that would also crack down on junior drivers. If a younger driver or probationary driver is caught, their license would be suspended for 60 days on the first conviction.
Distracted driving can increase the chances that someone will cause an accident, and these crashes can cause major physical and property damage. If someone has been harmed by a distracted driver, a lawyer may be able to help them understand their rights. A lawyer could also represent someone in court and help them pursue compensation for medical bills.
Source: NY Daily News, “New York to enforce tougher penalties for texting or talking while driving,” Jonathan Lemire, May 31, 2013