New York would have the toughest texting-while-driving penalties in the nation under a plan proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The Governors Highway Safety Association said they are unaware of a tougher law in the nation. Currently, there is a six-month suspension for teens caught texting while driving in New York, Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl.
“To my knowledge, it would be the strongest texting law in the United States. It sends a strong message, for sure,” said Jonathan Adkins, the association’s deputy executive director.
The texting law was among the criminal-justice proposals made by Cuomo, the state’s former attorney general, during his speech.
He also proposed revoking driver’s licenses for five years for drivers with two drunk-driving convictions in a three-year period and full revocation of driver’s licenses for those with three convictions. Currently, getting two DWIs within 10 years leads to a minimum one-year suspension.
The state has enacted tougher drunk driving and texting laws in recent years.
Cuomo, who has three teenaged daughters, has regularly warned about the dangers of texting behind the wheel. He recently announced texting stops along the state Thruway to encourage people to pull over if they need to use their phones.
“For young drivers, a cell phone can be more dangerous than a bottle of alcohol. For teen drivers, texting while driving creates more fatal accidents than drinking while driving,” Cuomo said during his address.
More than 3,000 annual teen deaths nationwide are caused by texting while driving and 300,000 injuries, a report in May by the Cohen Children’s Medical Center on Long Island found. New York has had a number of fatal crashes involving teenagers, including one near Rochester and Buffalo.