Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 1, 2013

New York increasing texting penalty for junior drivers

ALBANY — New York's young drivers face a 60-day suspension when caught texting or using a hand-held cell phone on the road under a law Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he'll sign.

Those traffic violations already carry fines.

The legislation approved by the Senate and Assembly applies to drivers with permits and probationary or junior licenses.

They'll now face a 60-day suspension for a first offense.

A second offense within six months will revoke a probationary license for six months and a junior license for 60 days.

Sponsors cited a 2011 survey showing 45 percent of students 16 and older texted or emailed while driving in the previous 30 days.

New York reported the number of cell phone-related crashes more than doubled from 2005 to 2011.

Cuomo is expected to sign the measure Monday.

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