senate Bill S1351

2011-2012 Legislative Session

Relates to driving while using a portable electronic device

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 04, 2012 referred to transportation
Jan 06, 2011 referred to transportation

Co-Sponsors

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S1351 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Vehicle and Traffic Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §1225-d, V & T L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S6992

S1351 - Bill Texts

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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.

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BILL NUMBER: S6992

TITLE OF BILL :

An act to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the use of
portable electronic devices


PURPOSE :

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.

JUSTIFICATION :

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
worse.

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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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1351

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                             January 6, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  DILAN,  DIAZ, HASSELL-THOMPSON, KLEIN, VALESKY --
  read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to
  the Committee on Transportation

AN  ACT  to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to the use of
  portable electronic devices

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1. Subdivision 6 of section 1225-d of the vehicle and traffic
law, as added by chapter 403 of the laws of 2009, is amended to read  as
follows:
  6. A violation of this section shall be a traffic infraction and shall
be  punishable  by  a  fine  of not more than one hundred fifty dollars.
[Provided, however, that a summons for  operating  a  motor  vehicle  in
violation  of this section shall only be issued when there is reasonable
cause to believe that  the  person  operating  such  motor  vehicle  has
committed  a  violation of the laws of this state other than a violation
of this section.]
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.





 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD03015-01-1

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