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Police say New York texting and driving law successful

The executive director for the New York Police Chiefs Association said the state's new texting and driving ban is, "a great success story." Multiple serious car accidents in New York were caused by texting and driving, but police could not pull drivers over unless they were doing something else illegal. The New York texting and driving ban was signed into law on July 12 and since that time the number of tickets issued for the offense has skyrocketed.

According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the number of tickets issued to drivers since the new texting ban went into effect increased by 72 percent across the state and outside of New York City. During the first month the primary texting ban went into effect over 1,000 tickets were given for the offense. New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, said the high number of tickets demonstrates the seriousness of the distracted driving problem.

There have been a number of fatal car accidents involving texting and driving in New York. Five teenage girls were killed in June 2007 in a car accident that was caused by texting. That same year a 20-year-old driver was killed when he sent a text message from behind the wheel. Two years ago, a 22-year-old woman was killed when she ran into a truck; she had been sending a text message.

Law enforcement officials have said efforts to enforce the new texting ban are most effective when they are undercover. Drivers who are caught texting and driving face a fine up to $150 and may lose three points. The punishment is equal to a speeding ticket.

Source: wgrz.com, "Texting while driving tickets soar in New York," Joseph Spector, Sept. 21, 2011

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