New York increases penalties for distracted drivers
In response to a significant rise in the number of motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers in New York, Governor Cuomo recently announced that the consequences for violating the distracted driving laws are increasing in severity. Individuals found texting while behind the wheel will now incur five points on their license, as opposed to the previous penalty of three points.
This is not the first time New York has strengthened the penalties for those who drive while distracted. In 2011, texting while driving became a primary offense in New York, meaning law enforcement officers could stop a motorist solely for violating the texting ban.
The hope is that these new penalties will lead to a decrease in the number of fatalities and personal injuries caused by distracted driving collisions in New York. Over the past few years, the number of such collisions has skyrocketed. In fact, from 2005 to 2011, there was a 143 percent increase in the number of motor vehicle accidents in New York caused by distracted drivers.
In 2011, there were over 25,000 auto accidents caused by motorists distracted by cellphones that resulted in fatalities or personal injuries in the state. According to New York's Department of Motor Vehicles, motorists between the ages of 22 and 30 receive the most citations for violating the texting ban.
Prevent serious distracted driving collisions in New York
New Yorkers would be wise to adhere to the distracted driving laws in place, to avoid being involved in a severe motor vehicle accident. In New York, all drivers are prohibited from texting while behind the wheel. Texting bans have been enacted in a number of states across the country, as it has been found that texting greatly increases the risk of a collision. According to a Virginia Tech study, texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident than non-distracted drivers.
In addition, New York motorists are not allowed to use a handheld cellphone while driving. A Monash University study revealed that drivers who use handheld cellphones increase the risk of sustaining personal injuries in a motor vehicle collision by four times.
Across the country, over 3,330 people died in traffic collisions caused by distracted drivers in 2011. In addition, another approximately 387,000 people sustained personal injuries in distracted driving crashes that year.
If you have been injured in a distracted driving accident, consulting with a skilled personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.