If you text and drive, you’re increasingly likely to get ticketed, Gannett’s Albany Bureau reported today.
With stronger laws and greater enforcement, texting-while-driving tickets in New York leaped 82 percent in 2013 compared to 2012, records show. Outside New York City, the increase was 89 percent.
In 26 of New York’s 62 counties, the number of texting tickets more than doubled over the past year, including in Westchester, Rockland, Broome and Dutchess.
Police issued roughly 55,000 texting tickets statewide in 2013, up from about 30,000 in 2012.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed this month to suspend licenses for one year of people under 21 caught texting behind the wheel. It’s currently six months.
“Too many times we have witnessed the tragedy that comes as a result of texting while driving,” Cuomo said in a statement to Gannett’s Albany Bureau. “The continued vigilance against this destructive behavior should send a resounding message to all drivers: Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. I thank the State Police and local law enforcement for their dedication to making this a safer New York.”
The figures reviewed by Gannett’s Albany Bureau from the state Department of Motor Vehicles also showed the changing times: As texting tickets have soared, tickets for talking on a cellphone have dropped in each of the past five years.
Tickets for cellphone use still outpace texting tickets. Police last year issued nearly 207,000 tickets for using a cellphone while driving, but down from 217,000 in 2012, or nearly 5 percent. In 2009, police issued 342,000 cellphone tickets.
Here’s a database of texting tickets by county since 2009: