Police departments around New York State cracked down on texting while driving in 2014. Drivers seen using their phones while driving received 75,353 summonses compared to the 55,673 issued in 2013, officials said, a 35 percent increase. In 2014, the number of tickets given out for texting while driving in New York City also increased – by 50 percent. The NYPD handed out 47,914 summonses to drivers spotted texting, compared to the 31,835 issued in 2013, reported the New York Post (4.14.15).
Police did not believe that drivers were texting less, but that their departments were enforcing the law more. The Post reported that police were being pressured by the state government to write more tickets to drivers who text. For one, week-long crackdowns aimed specifically at ticketing texting drivers were being regularly scheduled by state and local police departments.
In New York City, targeting drivers who text while behind the wheel is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign to make the roads safer.
Texting while driving carries a fine of up to $450 and as many as 5 points on a person’s license. Young drivers with only a learner’s permit could face a 120-day suspension for a first offense and could lose their license for a year if they commit a second offense within six months.
In 2011, tougher laws against texting while driving were enacted in New York State. The number of summonses has gone up significantly, by more than 700 percent since 2011, when only 9,015 texting-while-driving tickets were issued throughout the state, according to the New York Post, citing the Governor’s Office.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 were injured nationwide in vehicular crashes involving a distracted driver in 2013.
Texting is not the only type of distraction for a driver. All distractions endanger the safety of drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, and others who share the roads. Types of distractions include eating, drinking, applying makeup, using a navigation system, adjusting a radio and talking to passengers. Text messaging is considered one of the worst distractions because it requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver.
Individuals who were injured by a driver who was texting and driving, eating, drinking, or otherwise distracted, may seek compensation for that driver’s negligent conduct. Compensation may include medical expenses, lost income, property damage and more. Victims and-or their families should contact an experienced lawyer to discuss a case and preserve rights to compensation.