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New measures implemented in New York's battle against distracted driving

Tragically, crashes involving people who are distractedly driving kill 9 people and injure more than 1,000 people on a daily basis.
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    December 15, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- New measures implemented in New York's battle against distracted driving

By now, most people have heard some of the disturbing stories and statistics about distracted drivers. Tragically, crashes involving people who are distractedly driving kill 9 people and injure more than 1,000 people on a daily basis, according to the CDC.

These stunning figures underscore the need for both legal and educational measures to stop distracted driving. Fortunately for drivers in Nassau and other parts of New York, several changes have been made in the last year to deter drivers from these deadly behaviors.

Facts on distracted driving

There is growing public awareness of the dangers associated with distracted driving, yet the number of people who engage in the behavior has not plummeted. On the contrary, the CDC offers the following figures:
-In 2011, distracted driving played a role in crashes that killed 3,331 people and injured 387,000.
-In 2010, more injuries occurred, with 416,000 people hurt, while the rate of fatalities was similar, with 3,267 lives lost.
-In 2010, distracted driving crashes accounted for 18 percent of all crashes.
-Nearly a third of 18-64 year old drivers surveyed by the CDC admitted to reading or sending electronic communications like emails or texts within 30 days of the survey.
-More than two-thirds of drivers in the same age group admitted to talking on a cell phone within 30 days of being questioned.

There are a few possible reasons for this persistent behavior. Some people recognize the danger but don't think that they will end up as an accident statistic. For other people, the consequences or likelihood of getting caught are simply not deterrence enough. National campaigns have sought to address the first issue, and over the last year in New York, measures have been taken to correct the second.

Recent New York initiatives

According to New York's CNY News, a number of changes have been made to encourage drivers to make better decisions and prevent needless accidents. These include the introduction of "texting zones" where drivers can pull over and safely use their phones, the posting of signs reminding drivers not to text and the increase of penalties for electronic device use.

The New York government website Safe NY reports that penalties apply to drivers who are caught talking, texting, browsing, emailing and even playing games on electronic devices. Changes in the penalties include:
-An increase in fines, with fines for first-time offenders increased by $100, and fines for third-time or higher offenders increased by $350.
-The introduction of a 30-day license suspension for drivers with a probationary license or learner's permit.
-A change in points that the violation puts on a license, with the number increasing from three to five.

It remains to be seen how effective these measures will be, but it is safe to say that drivers in New York now have even more reason to stay focused on the road.

Of course, even the strictest laws and best educational efforts won't stop every driver from acting irresponsibly. Each driver should remain cautious of other motorists and, in the event of an accident in which another driver was at fault, seek help from a qualified attorney.

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