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Cuomo signs "texting while driving" law

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New Yorkers who text while driving will be subject to tougher penalties, under a bill signed into law by Governor Cuomo. In Albany, Karen DeWitt has the details.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

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Up until now, texting while driving was banned in New York, but police could only ticket a driver for the offense if they first committed another driving violation, like speeding. Now that Governor Cuomo has signed the bill, texting while driving becomes a primary offense, and people can be pulled over for typing text messages, surfing the web, or playing video games on their smart phone.

The governor says as a father of three teenagers, he thinks it’s particularly important to enforce what he calls “common sense”. 

“You can hurt someone, you can hurt yourself, you can even kill someone, as we’ve learned the hard way,” Cuomo said. “And it is a special problem for our young people, who are vulnerable.”

The law takes effect immediately, and violators will be subject to a $150 fine.

The penalty for using a cell phone without a hands free device will also increase from two to three points on a driver’s license, under the new law.

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