Governor Andrew Cuomo has just raised the stakes for texting and driving for individuals who have little experience behind the wheel. The governor has just signed a law that brings stricter penalties for this offense for junior and probationary driver’s license holders, according to a July 1 New York Post article. While this law largely targets teenage drivers, older drivers who have just recently obtained their licenses are also affected by this change.
Under the recently signed law, new teen and adult drivers who are convicted of texting while driving or of using hand-held cell phones while driving could end up losing their licenses for 60 days (two months). Subsequent convictions for either of these offenses can lead to six-month driver’s license revocations. According to the WBFO 88.7, the offense of texting while driving will now be treated as seriously under New York law as the offenses of reckless driving and speeding.
This move by the Gov. Cuomo is part of a larger campaign he has been bringing against the act of texting while driving. About a month ago, the governor raised the penalties for all drivers caught in the act of reading or sending text messages while driving—the number of points a person could receive on his or her driver’s license on a first offense was raised to five points, up from three points, according to the New York Post.
Furthermore, in 2011, another law signed by Gov. Cuomo designated the use of a handheld electronic device for texting and other similar activities a primary traffic offense, according to Gov. Cuomo’s office. This allowed officers to start pulling drivers over for this offense without having to have another traffic violation to pull them over for. As a result of this law, the number of tickets issued for texting and driving in the state of New York rose by 234% between 2011 and 2012.
If you have been accused of texting while driving, it is important that you work with a capable attorney who can help you take steps to avoid the loss of your driving privileges—especially if you are a new driver who is now subject to tougher penalties. At Gannes & Musico, LLP, we have highly New York City traffic ticket lawyers who can provide you with strong defense. Contact us for high-quality legal representation!