Senator Lanza today announced that new and increased fines for distracted driving violations, which includes texting-while-driving or using an electronic handheld device while driving, are effective today. These new fines were passed as part of the 2013-14 State Budget and are part of continuing efforts to prevent distracted driving and make the state’s roads and highways safer for New Yorkers.
As of today, for distracted driving violations that occur on or after July 26, 2013, there are new minimum fines and higher maximum fines:
· For a first offense, the minimum fine is $50 and maximum fine increases to $150.
· For a second offense committed within 18 months, the minimum fine is $50 and the maximum fine increases to $200.
· For a third or subsequent offense committed within 18 months, the minimum fine is $50 and the maximum fine increases to $400.
These fines are a part of the State’s ongoing efforts to fight distracted driving - an issue that affects public safety statewide and across the nation. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo directed the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to implement tougher penalties for distracted driving for all drivers. On June 1, 2013, DMV increased the number of points earned against an individual’s driving record upon conviction for texting-while-driving and cell-phone related infractions from three points to five points.
On July 1, 2013, legislation was signed creating new penalties for distracted driving for young and new drivers. The new law which was effective immediately imposes the same penalties on drivers with probationary and junior licenses for texting-while-driving and using a hand-held cell phone that they had received for speeding and reckless driving: 60-day suspensions for first convictions and revocations of 60 days (for junior licenses) or 6 months (for probationary licenses) for subsequent convictions within 6 months of the time a license is restored after suspension.
This summer, the New York State Police is undertaking a major crackdown on distracted driving. The up to $1 million effort consists of significantly increased enforcement and patrols, particularly through undercover operations using unmarked State Police SUVs to catch irresponsible drivers.
For more information on the State’s cell-phone and texting laws, go to: