Beginning June 1st 2013, New York drivers convicted of texting while driving will receive five points on their licenses (up from three). This move by Governor Andrew Cuomo will push people closer to having their drivers licenses suspended, as well as increase their auto insurance premiums. Auto policy non-renewals are also possible with these new penalties.
According to an article from Newsday, this law is specific to anyone using a hand-held electronic device for any reason including checking emails, texting, chatting, reading maps, etc., when operating a motor vehicle. It does not “appear” to affect anyone using any mounted device in their vehicle, as is typical with GPS devices, blue tooth devices, and car stereos. Additionally, Cuomo has also asked NYS legislators to approve a new measure making it easier for the state to suspend or revoke the licenses of those drivers caught using cell phones or other electronic devices while holding a probationary or junior license. It would add cell-phone use to speeding, reckless driving and other infractions that could lead to a 60-day suspension for a first offense by new drivers with a junior or probationary license.
The governor said enforcement of the cell phone laws would also be beefed up starting Saturday by the State Police, and he encouraged all local police agencies to join the effort.
The state said cell phone-related vehicle crashes have risen 143 percent from 2005 to 2011, during which time alcohol-related accidents have dropped 18 percent. Last year, 30,166 texting-while-driving tickets were issued in New York, compared to 43,954 drunk driving arrests.