NYPD finds texting while driving law frustrating
The state of New York does prohibit the use of a hand-held cellphones and texting while driving, but the secondary enforcement aspect of the law is making it tough to enforce.
Since November 2009, New York drivers are banned from using any hand-held mobile telephone, and other electronic devices, while in a moving vehicle. A violation of the new ruling results in a fine of $150. The law also says police officers must find another law violation before handing out a ticket for using a cell phone while driving.
Some officers are speaking out on the issue, hoping lawmakers in the New York Senate will approve a new version of the law to make it a primary enforcement. It was approved so far by the State Assembly on July 1.
For Sgt. Sharon Moyer of the Elmira police traffic bureau, the current law is “absurd, only because the whole push is a driver distraction thing, and it’s very frustrating that you have to have some other violation. We have to wait to put somebody else in harm’s way before we can do something.”
Others support her point of view.
“From an enforcement standpoint, it’s not great,” said Sgt. Art Cady, of state police in Horseheads. “The arresting officer’s got to be able to see the phone and see that they’re talking, or see at the very least that they have it to their ear. You can stop and give them a warning, [but] there’s probably not a lot of troopers that are doing that.”
The new legislation was filed at the request of Gov. David Paterson. Its prospects in the New York Senate is uncertain.
Source: Ithaca Journal, July 16, 2010