Cuomo says distracted driving penalties now 'severe'

Jul 9, 2013

The long holiday weekend may be over, but the State Police crackdown on distracted driving is not.

In Buffalo Tuesday promoting the enforcement campaign, Governor Andrew Cuomo said there are now five times more accidents from distracted driving than alcohol-related crashes.

"From 2005 to 2011 [there was] a 143% increase in the number of fatalities and injuries from distracted drivers," Cuomo says.

Governor Cuomo talked about harsher penalties for distracted drivers in Buffalo Tuesday.
Credit Chris Caya/WBFO News

Cuomo is reminding motorists the penalty for texting while driving was recently increased from three to five points on a license. Cuomo said distracted driving is a crisis that is getting worse.

"Five points is very serious. Five points is the number of points you get for a very high speeding ticket, grossly over the speed limit. Five points is a lot of points. It can make a different on your license. You can lose your license. It can make a difference on your insurance. This is a severe penalty," Cuomo says.

The state also increased penalties for texting while driving for newer drivers. Younger drivers now face having their license suspended or revoked for longer periods.

The state is providing up to $1 million for the enforcement campaign, which includes more unmarked SUVs so Troopers can blend in with traffic and observe drivers behind the wheel.