Stricter Penalties to Crack Down on Drivers Texting While Driving in NY

By Joe Gullo

Published 04/14 2014 12:31PM

Updated 04/14 2014 12:35PM

ALBANY, N.Y. - Starting this November, tougher laws are headed to New York State to crack down on texting and driving among young and new drivers. 

For many parents like Scott Loran teaching a child how to drive is a tough task that he has to face.

"My wife and I are teaching them. Its very nerve-wracking and a little uncomfortable making sure they know the rules of the road," said Loran.

Loran's number one rule: shut off the cell phone and his daughter says that's okay with her.

"There are so many things to distract you that you have to pay attention to as a driver, that its already hard enough to drive and do it safely, that I think texting would be worthless, waste of time," said Alissia Loran.

State lawmakers couldn't agree more. Starting November 1st, young and new drivers convicted of texting-while-driving will face harsher penalties. 

For the first offense, their license will be suspended for 120 days. For the second offense, their license will be suspended for one full year. State troopers say it's a fair punishment.

"Young drivers are new at driving in general. To add using a cell phone can make it even more dangerous for them," said Trooper Cheryl Isbrandt. "We're serious about it, our governor is serious about it, and we're going to push it no matter if you're 16 or 75 on a cell phone."

Experts say texting while driving takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds. If you're traveling at a speed of 55 mph, that means you're not looking at the road for about the length of an entire football field, while sending that one text.

"You can ruin someones life and your own. It's the same as drinking and driving, either way you're going to harm someone and its just gonna be bad for you," said Alissia Loran.

Loran and her dad say the harsher the penalty, the better.

"Driving is a responsibility. You're driving a 2,000 pound bullet. You can kill someone. You need to take responsibility and not answer the phone," said Scott Loran.

Over the next few days you may notice more police on the roads. It's all part of a state-wide campaign that runs through Tuesday called "Operation hang-up" that targets distracted drivers.

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