Governor Cuomo says the state Thruway will offer more places to pull over and answer text messages or make cell phone calls, in an effort to prevent texting while driving.
The New York State Thruway will now have 91 official sites designated as texting and calling areas, as part of an effort to reduce the incidence of texting while driving. The governor, speaking at the New Baltimore rest stop on the thruway just south of Albany, says statistics show that distracted driving has now become more deadly than drunk driving. He says one out of five accidents today are attributed to distracted driving.
“Five times more fatalities from districted driving than from drunk driving, believe it or not,” the governor said.
As a way of coping with the reality that people text, or are tempted to text, while they are driving, the state Thruway will begin offering 91 locations specifically designated for drivers to pull over, answer a text or email message, or make a phone call. The stops include travel plazas, park and ride spots, and parking areas. Cuomo, who has teenaged daughters that he says are “affixed” to their smart phones, says he hopes the regularly spaced spots along the Thruway will help drivers be more patient.
“And the signs will say 'it can wait',” Cuomo said. “Because that’s the whole message. It can wait.”
And if the carrot of offering special spots to text isn’t enough to change behavior, there’s the stick – in the form of a new law that toughens penalties for those caught texting while driving. Police are now permitted to pull over drivers that they suspect might be texting, and if proven and convicted, the driver faces five points on their license and a $150 fine.
The Thruway Authority is also putting up 300 new signs that warn motorists of the new anti-texting law.