Senate Approves Bill To Ban Texting While Driving

John J. Bonacic

July 22, 2008

State Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) voted in favor of legislation that prohibits drivers from sending text messages while driving. The bill, S.3195-C, amends the law banning cell phone use while driving by prohibiting drivers from writing, sending, or reading text messages on a cell phone or any other mobile device.

"The fewer distractions people have while driving, the safer we all are," stated Senator Bonacic. "The nature of texting requires actions that make it impossible for motorists to appropriately focus on the road, other traffic, pedestrians, and road construction to name a few."

Senator Bonacic said that a recent survey conducted by Nationwide Insurance Company found that one in five drivers are texting while behind the wheel. The same survey found that the figure rises to one in three for drivers who are between the ages of 18 and 34. Most Americans, according to a recent poll, think driving while texting is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated.

"Our younger generation uses texting all the time and most do it proficiently, however, typing and looking at a screen while driving is simply a formula for disaster. Hopefully, this bill will encourage drivers to think twice before texting in the car," Bonacic continued.

The bill adds texting to the language of the State’s current law that bans taking on a cell phone while driving. It also requires that at least one question on the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) licensing written examination relates to cell phone safety and calls for the DMV Commissioner to provide for the additional training of pre-licensing course instructors to ensure competency in cell phone safety instruction. The measure also sets a fine of $100 for driving while texting violation.

"It is my hope that the Assembly takes action on this bill before Session concludes," concluded Senator Bonacic.