When New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says that, “It can wait” in reference to motorists feeling a compelling need to send or read a text while driving, it must sometimes seem to him that his message is largely falling on deaf ears.
Relevant statistics concerning distracted drivers in the state would seem to readily confirm that many motorists aren’t particularly receptive to that safety message. The result is, sadly and obviously, a high rate of car accidents owing to drivers with one hand on the wheel and one hand on the phone.
That is, of course, illegal in New York, with state law that addresses texting and cellphone use in general being relatively stringent when compared with legislation existing in many other states. New York law is “primary,” meaning that a driver can be stopped and ticketed for phone use even if a police officer doesn’t first note another traffic offense (e.g., reckless driving or speeding).
The governor and state safety officials seem amenable to using every conceivable tool to gain some control over the texting-while-driving epidemic. State police officers have taken an exceedingly tough enforcement approach this year, with police stopping far more offending drivers than over the same period in 2012.
And late last month, Cuomo announced that certain open areas alongside state highways will be deemed “special texting zones.” Noting that state officials are “taking advantage of what we’ve got,” the governor announced a plan that will enable people who really feel they need to text to pull over into specially denoted zones to stop and text legally while in their vehicles.
We will keep readers duly apprised of any material developments concerning the launching of the texting zones.
Source: ABC News, "N.Y. governor unveils plan to create 'texting zones' for distracted drivers," Jon M. Chang, Sept. 26, 2013