Fines Increase For Distracted Driving

Jul 26, 2013

Credit USA Today

New laws have just taken effect in New York State that toughen penalties for drunk driving and distracted driving.

Higher fines for distracted driving are in effect as of Friday. That includes texting while driving, or using an electronic handheld device while driving. The new fines call for a 50 dollar minimum fine for a first offense, with a maximum of 150 dollars. The dollar amounts go up to a maximum of 400 dollars after a third offense. Also, back in June, the state increased the number of points you could get on your license for texting while driving and cell phone related infraction to up to five points.

Some drivers WXXI News spoke with, like April, from Irondequoit, do feel the tough penalties are necessary.

“I think it’s great. I know there’s been a lot of accidents. I was just driving down the road recently and saw an accident because someone wasn’t paying attention, texting. I think it’s an awesome idea. Everyone’s a little guilty of it once in a while, but I think increasing the fines is a good idea.”

Also on Friday, Governor Cuomo signed legislation that strengthens Leandra's Law. That includes tougher penalties on people who drive under the influence of alcohol with a child in the car.