Although many New Yorkers have caught on when it comes to recognizing the perils of talking on cell phones while driving, most still aren’t putting their phones down as tickets for texting while driving continue to rise.
Data collected by the state from 2012 to 2016 has found that tickets for talking on cell phones have fallen 47 percent statewide; however, during that same period, tickets for texting and driving is up more than 200 percent.
With April designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, State and local law enforcement agencies have cracked down on texting and driving, dishing out dozens of tickets during special enforcement details.
According to a study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving has reached the top of the list of growing dangers on local roadways, surpassing aggressive or impaired drivers. In the study, 49 percent of those surveyed reported that they’ve talked on cellphones while driving, and 35 percent admitted that they’ve sent a text or email, “even though most believe it’s wrong to do while driving.” The survey also found that “nine out of 10 drivers nationwide reflect a ‘do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do’ attitude” in regards to cellphone use while driving.
According to police officials, the latest “statistics show motor vehicle fatalities are up 6 percent from 2015. More than 40,000 people were killed on our nation's roadways last year, and distracted driving is a major contributor.” One in every four accidents in the nation are caused by texting and driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It is estimated that nearly 700,000 people use a cellphone while driving in America each day. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a crash is four times as likely if a driver is distracted, whether it’s on a hands-free device or not.
In New York, distracted driving can cost repeat offenders up to $450 and can lead to a 120-day suspension of a driver’s license, and a one-year revocation for two offenses in six months.
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