April 8, 2013
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a new study had concluded that people are still driving distracted despite being aware of the risks involved. In an effort to reduce Distracted Driving Accidents, the State of New York has announced it will stiffen penalties for those who are caught texting and driving.
According to an article from USA Today, the new laws will increase fines for driving while distracted to up to $200 for the first two infractions within an 18-month period. The fine increases to up to $400 for every subsequent offense. Also, the fines for failing to use a hands-free device while talking on a cellphone will increase from $100 to $150.
The increases come on the heels of several other efforts by lawmakers to make the state’s distracted driving laws tougher. In 2011, the behavior was deemed a primary offense, meaning a motorist could be stopped for an infraction. That same year, lawmakers deemed distracted driving punishable by three points on a license rather than two.
These efforts come at a time when distracted driving offenses in the state are at an all-time high. Erie County recorded more than 1,400 distracted driving tickets being issued between Jan. and Nov. 2012.
The Personal Injury Lawyers with William Mattar Law Offices are hopeful the increase in penalties will deter motorists from engaging in distracting behavior while behind the wheel.