N.Y. texting fines up to $400

New York governor vs. distracted drivers imageNew York’s fines for electronic distracted driving have increased, as part of the state’s multi-pronged attack on drivers who text message and use handheld cell phones. Fines max out at $400 for serial offenders.

The tougher fines were included in the 2013-14 state budget. New York’s governor said the move would address “a frightening epidemic on our roadways,” calling the increase in traffic fines “an important tool to punish and prevent this reckless behavior.”

They are in addition to the late May hike in DMV points against violators’ licenses to five. Points can be reflected in insurance premiums.

New fines for distracted driving in New York state:

  • First offense: Minimum fine $150 with maximum of $150.
  • Second offense: $50 to $150.
  • Third offense and subsequent offenses within a year and a half: $50 to $400.

“Combined with stronger penalties on your license and increased enforcement, these increased fines will send a tough message to all drivers that distracted driving is a serious problem with serious consequences,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who increased the DMV points via executive order.

In addition, Cuomo pushed through the Legislature a law that provides for the suspension and revocation of driver’s licenses of novice drivers who text message while behind the wheel. Young drivers are considered the most likely to text & drive. Under the law, young drivers who illegally text message will be hit with the same penalties they now face for reckless driving.

Neighboring New Jersey upped its distracted driving fines earlier this summer. The governor of Connecticut has been sent legislation that would hike fines and use demerit points against violators.

New York law enforcement also is engaged in a summerlong crackdown against distracted driving. As part of the effort, officers are using more “spotter” SUVs, with elevated seating that allows them to identify drivers who are using handheld devices. Over the long July 4 weekend, State Police wrote 486 tickets for texting and cell phone use. The governor’s office said as much as $1 million was being spent on chasing distracted drivers.

Cuomo said in confirming the increased fines July 26: “Using a multi-pronged approach to combat this dangerous habit will make drivers think twice before using their cellphones behind the wheel. As New York’s law enforcement patrols our highways and roads this summer, we are warning drivers: don’t text-and-drive or you will pay for it.”

In 2011, Cuomo made texting & driving subject to primary enforcement and added a point against the license of offenders.

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  1. Al Cinamon says:

    An 8-month ole baby girl is being laid to rest today in West New York, NJ. The story should be on this website because she was killed when a bus driver who was talking on his phone slammed into a light pole that fell on the baby.

    To all you people who think you have superior skills when it comes to driving and talking on a phone, give some thought to the fact that a bus driver, a professional, a skilled CDL license holder was not able to multitask. Just what is it that makes you think you are so skilled that you can drive with your eyes closed? And don’t kid yourself, your eyes might be open when you’re on the phone, but they don’t see a damn thing that pertains to your driving.

  2. Ben Levitan says:

    Clearly NY $2.4 Million per month of reasons to be enamored with their texting law. (16,000 tickets per month @ $150 minimum). No press release has mentioned a reduction in the number of accidents that have been reported. There are technical ways the cell phone company can stop texting. Why not implement them?. At $400 per violation…WOW. What a revenue stream.

  3. This is all about the $$$$$$$ now its time we turn the table around, what about the police and the fire department who use a radio, and a cell phone as well as there laptops talk about being a distracted driver I am waiting for a big accident when this happens. There should be 2 people in every car 1 just for the driving the other person for everything else.

  4. Al Cinamon says:

    “…increased fines will send a tough message to all drivers that distracted driving is a serious problem…” Bull! Increased fines will just enrich the Treasury and continue to ENCOURAGE distracted driving. It is well established that there is no difference between talking on a hand-held phone or a hands-free phone. So the state is raking in lots of dollars from people who hold a phone while driving while allowing people to talk on a phone while driving. It’s all phony-baloney, and the politicians know it.

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