More Cell Phone and Seatbelt Violations in New York

No New Yorker likes being stopped by the police. Rarely do drivers believe they are at fault when they see flashing lights in their rear view mirror, and they dread the potential fines for moving violations. However, traffic safety advocates may be elated by a report about traffic tickets throughout the city.

Under the Saving Lives Through Better Information law, the NYPD is required to provide information about the types of traffic stops they make in addition to the types of citations they issue. Citizens can see how many traffic tickets each precinct has issued under 36 different violations. The NYPD is also required to provide information online about car crashes, including their location, as well as any injuries that were involved.

According to transportation advocacy group Transportation Nation, the NYPD has issued 530,826 moving violations through May 2011. According to data released through the Better Information law, seatbelt violations top the list of citations (including not using a car seat for children). About 82,000 seatbelt citations were issued. Cell phone violations placed second, with just over 81,000 tickets. These two offenses accounted for nearly 30 percent of all moving violations issued in the five boroughs.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne explained to Transportation Nation that there were more seatbelt violations and cell phone infractions because they are easier to enforce. No special equipment (such as radar guns) or specialized training is needed to observe these infractions. They are very common offenses. Illegal cell phone use has distinct links to auto accidents and improper child seats leads to injuries in children. As such, safety advocates have implored the police to enforce these rules.

The NYPD hopes to use the citation information to partner with other safety groups in an effort to make high-volume intersections safer for pedestrians.