Letter to the Editor on Texting Ban

July 18, 2011

To the Editor:

Governor Cuomo recently signed a new bill into law that makes using a handheld electronic device in a moving vehicle a primary offense. As a supporter of the bill, I am very pleased that it was signed because it will keep our roads safer by deterring distracted driving.

Previously, driving while using a handheld electronic device was a secondary offense; this meant that an officer could only pull over a driver who was breaking another law in addition to their use of an electronic device. Now that driving with a handheld device is a primary offense, a driver can be pulled over solely for using this device. They will also receive up to a $150 fine for breaking the law.

Violations of the law will now include: holding an electronic device and playing games, viewing, sending, or taking pictures, and writing, reading, sending, saving, or transmitting data: e-mails, text messages, or Web pages. However, the law does not impact people using a handheld device that is attached to a surface, such as a GPS. A driver who is trying to contact law enforcement, the fire department, or medical personnel is also exempt from this new law.

Texting while driving continues to be a serious problem. It causes roads to become more dangerous while compromising the safety of other drivers and pedestrians. It is my hope that our roads will be safer because of this law. We have all seen and heard of the consequences of distracted driving and I hope this new law will discourage people from using electronic devices while driving and that it will make a great difference in our publicís safety.

Sandy Galef,
Assemblywoman, 90th A.D.