Wednesday, February 16, 2011

New York Puts New Penalties on Phoning While Driving

New York State ever on the cutting edge of either creating new law or updating old law is implementing new punishments for P.W.D. (phoning while driving) or T.W.D. (texting while driving) today. BTW NYS had the first DWI laws in the nation so if you are looking for a trend setter look to New York. (spoken as a true New Yorker)

Phoning or texting while driving used to be a NO point violation with merely a fine. Now it has 2 points associated with it which can cause your auto insurance to rise up to 20%. These points can also contribute towards the 11 points within an 18 month time period which mandates a 6 month DMV license suspension.

Driving requires you to be mentally focused on the task at hand. Distracted driving is a serious problem whether from a driver using a GPS, eating, applying make up, smoking, or any other non-driving related activity.

My problem is that when I see people behind the wheel eating their Mickey D's,,, is the issue really talking on a cell phone? I know we need to draw lines on behaviors that are dangerous but can we legislate and fairly apply these laws to create real change?

There still are many states that DO NOT require seatbelts, insurance, helmets, and FREELY allow cell phone use while driving. Is limiting our freedom to choose our own behavior going to make us safer? If you can safely drive while eating a bag of chips should we legislate a no snacking law for those who cannot? What about older drivers? Have you seen senior citizens get out of their cars who can barely walk and/or move too quickly? Are those 80 year old motorists, many who are on medication, and thus semi-distracted really safer than a 35 year old on a cell phone?

New York thinks so I'm not quite sure.