Cuomo announces stricter texting while driving penalties

ALBANY, N.Y. – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced actions to strengthen penalties for texting-while-driving to protect New Yorkers on the road.

Cuomo has directed the Department of Motor Vehicles to implement tougher penalties for texting-while-driving for all drivers effective Saturday, June 1. The DMV will increase the number of points earned against an individual's driving record upon conviction for texting-while-driving and cell-phone related infractions from the current three points to five points.

The Governor is also proposing legislation that would establish tough new penalties for young and new drivers convicted of texting-while-driving.

Under current law, probationary and junior licenses are suspended for 60 days for violations such as speeding, reckless driving, or following too closely behind another vehicle. Such licenses are revoked for 6 months (for probationary licenses) or 60 days (for junior licenses) if there is another violation within 6 months of the license being restored.

The Governor's proposed legislation will impose the same penalties on drivers with probationary and junior licenses for texting-while-driving that they now receive 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.

The Governor has also directed State Police to increase enforcement of the texting-while-driving ban during the summer starting this weekend. This will mean more checkpoints and troopers patrolling on the roads across the state throughout the summer when more drivers are on the road.

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