Big increase last year in motorists ticketed for texting

Posted 13 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office
Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced that tickets issued to motorists for texting while driving increased 35 percent statewide from 2013 to 2014, as police continue to crack down on distracted drivers.

“This reckless behavior endangers everyone on the road and has resulted in far too much needless tragedy,” Cuomo said. “I thank law enforcement agencies across the state for their continued vigilance and for making it crystal clear that texting while driving will not be tolerated in New York.”

Statewide, police agencies handed out 75,353 tickets in 2014 for texting while driving, compared to 55,673 in 2013. The biggest increase was in New York City, where tickets jumped from 31,835 in 2013 to 47,914 in 2014 – an increase of 50 percent.

Since 2011, when New York State first enacted tough new driving while texting laws, tickets have increased more than 700 percent. Only 9,015 tickets were given statewide in 2011.

Under current New York State law, motorists caught texting and driving face up to a $450 fine and five points on their license. Probationary and junior drivers could face a 120-day suspension for a first offense, and can lose their license for one year if a second offense is committed within six months.

Governor Cuomo last week announced the latest Operation Hang Up initiative, which continues through Wednesday. Law enforcement agencies statewide are targeting distracted drivers through special patrols. Funding to police agencies for Operation Hang Up and other special initiatives is provided by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC).

The GTSC provides grants to the New York State Police and local police agencies to combat distracted driving, drinking and driving, speeding and other targeted enforcement activities.