senate Bill S1351
(D) 18th Senate District
- In Committee
- On Floor Calendar
- Passed Senate
- Passed Assembly
- Delivered to Governor
- Signed/Vetoed by Governor
Relates to driving while using a portable electronic device; removes the requirement that there be reasonable cause a person using the device has committed a violation to issue a summons.
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the use of
portable electronic devices
This bill would increase highway safety by making the ban on using
portable electronic devices while driving a primary offense.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS :
Section 1 of this bill would amend Vehicle and Traffic Law (VTL) §
1225-d(6) by deleting language requiring that a summons for operating
a motor vehicle while using a portable electronic device can only be
issued when the driver has also committed another traffic violation.
Section 2 of this bill provides for an immediate effective date.
EXISTING LAW :
Currently, VTL § 1225-d prohibits a driver from using a portable
electronic device such as a cell phone, or texting, while operating a
motor vehicle. However, a violation is subject to only secondary
enforcement; that is, a motorist cannot be stopped and issued a
summons for the sole reason of using a portable electronic device.
Instead, a driver can only be stopped if he or she has also committed
another traffic violation.
Distracted driving is a major safety concern. The National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration reports that 16% of fatal accidents in
2008 were due to distracted driving. Text messaging while driving is
especially dangerous and prevalent. According to a Nationwide
Insurance study, an estimated 20% of all drivers, and 66% of drivers
aged 18 to 24, are sending or receiving text messages while behind the
wheel. A recently released study by the Virginia Tech Transportation
Institute found that truck drivers who were texting were 23 times more
at risk of a crash or near crash, while another study compared
reaction times when a driver was texting to when a drive"r was
intoxicated, and found that the reaction times while texting were
As these studies make clear, any kind of distraction while driving is
dangerous, and texting while driving is one of the most dangerous
distractions possible. Although VTL § 1225-d prohibits texting and the
use of a portable electronic device while driving, it only provides
for secondary enforcement. As a result, State Troopers and other law
enforcement officers are barred from stopping and ticketing a driver
for speaking on a cell phone or texting alone. Instead, they must wait
for the driver to break yet another traffic law, perhaps causing an
accident or putting other drivers in danger, before taking action.
This not only makes our highways more dangerous, but it handcuffs law
enforcement officers and prevents them from doing their job as
effectively as possible.
This bill will take the handcuffs off our law enforcement officers and
make our highways safer by making a violation of VTL § 1225-d a
primary offense, thereby allowing officers to stop a motorist who is
using a portable electronic device without having to observe another
violation of the law.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
2009/10: S.6992/A.10063 - Died on 3rd Reading/Passed Assembly
BUDGET IMPLICATIONS :
This bill will have no fiscal impact.
LOCAL IMPACT :
This bill will have no local impact.
EFFECTIVE DATE :
This bill would take effect immediately.
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