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One Year Later, Texting Ban Shows Drastic Increase in Violations

One year after strengthening its texting while driving law, a review of the numbers shows a drastic increase in the number of citations given by police throughout the state of New York. From July 2011, when the new law took effect, to July 2012, over 20,000 tickets for texting behind the wheel; this is four times the number of citations (just under 5,000) given in the previous year, reports an article on

Texting while driving has been illegal in New York since 2009. However, prior to the law change in 2011, texting behind the wheel was only considered a secondary offense. This means that law enforcement officers could only ticket drivers for violating this law after first stopping the driver for another traffic offense, such as speeding or suspected drunk driving.

The 2011 change didn't alter the fine, and drivers still face up to $150 for a violation, but the new law did increase the number of points added to a driver's license for a violation from two to three. Yet, the main change in the law, which may be most responsible for the increase in the number of tickets issued since the change, was making texting while driving a primary offense; meaning drivers can be pulled over solely for being observed using a hand-held device.

The law bans drivers from using hand-held cellphones to:

  • Read or write a text message or email
  • Browse the Internet
  • View or take a picture
  • Play games

The strengthening of the law in 2011 shows how seriously authorities take distracted driving, and can be seen in the number of tickets written in the past year. Seek the counsel of an experienced attorney if you've been accused of texting or otherwise using a hand-held cellphone while driving.


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