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Distracted driving penalty enforced

It’s now easier to enforce existing laws against texting whiledriving, and local leaders and residents couldn’t be happierbecause they believe the measure will help to save lives.

The legislation, signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo onJuly 12, makes texting and other handheld device use while drivinga primary traffic offense – meaning that law enforcement officerscan now stop drivers using a handheld electronic device simply fordoing that.

The infraction carries a maximum fine of up to $150, and apenalty of three points, increased by Cuomo from two points.

Previously, although it was illegal to use handheld deviceswhile driving, it was a secondary traffic offense – in which adriver had to be stopped for another violation in order to beticketed for distracted driving.

State Senator Marty Golden strongly supports and welcomes thisnew enforcement.

The practice of texting while driving is endangering allmotorists and pedestrians in New York, and these tougher penaltieswill deter drivers from engaging in this dangerous practice, saidJohn Quaglione, Golden’s press secretary. New Yorkers should takenote that these penalties have been increased and law enforcementis serious about enforcing this new law.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly agrees, pointingout the safety basis behind this regulation.

It’s no secret that violation of the no-texting and no use ofhand-held devices while driving rules are widespread despite theirnexus to accidents, including fatalities, Kelly said. Thislegislation is a welcome step toward saving lives.

The dangers of texting while driving hit close to home lastSeptember in Midwood when a teenager who was texting while drivingplowed into a delivery man on a bike, leaving him brain-dead.

Brooklynites are aware of this danger, and expressed their firmsupport of the measure.

Texting while driving causes accidents, said Catherine Donovanof Windsor Terrace. Behind the wheel, you have to be ready. It’sdangerous and jeopardizes everyone else.

Deborah Gillen of Sayreville, New Jersey, who was visiting BayRidge, agreed. I have kids, and they better not text whiledriving, she said.

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