Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation into law strengthening texting-while-driving penalties for young and new drivers.
“Statistic after statistic shows that texting-while-driving is a chronic problem in our society, particularly among teenagers, and it will only get worse if we do not take action to prevent this deadly behavior,” said Cuomo. “That is what this law will do: it will make drivers of all ages think twice before taking their eyes off the road to answer a message on their phone.”
The new law will apply to probationary license holders, those who passed their test within the last six months and junior license holders, drivers under 18 who have some license restrictions.
For the first conviction, probationary and junior licenses will be suspended for 60 days. If there is another violation within six months of the license being restored, probationary licenses will be revoked for six months and junior licenses for 60 days.
Those are the same penalties probationary and junior licenses holders receive for speeding and reckless driving.
When Cuomo proposed the legislation, he also directed the state DMV to increase penalties for texting-while-driving for all drivers starting the weekend of June 1. He asked the New York State Police to increase enforcement of the texting-while-driving ban during the summer.
Under the order, the DMV increased the number of points earned on a person’s driving record from three to five if they are convicted of texting-while-driving and other cell-phone related violations.