Governor Paterson signed it into law: if you drive, don’t text. Drivers found to be using “handheld devices or laptops to send text messages or read, view or transmit images or data while a vehicle is moving” may be ticketed, although the $150 fine (!) doesn’t kick in until your second offense, for which you may be dunned only if the cop finds another reason to pull you over, and he will.
The McGuffin is, as usual, studies that say the practice is unsafe, and the memory of some people who did it and wound up dead…
We’re not sure which of several anti-texting laws from the legislature this is, as many are on the docket and the state legislature web site is designed to hide, not reveal, information; one put forward by senator Kemp Hannon, for example, would also require “that new drivers over the age of 16 and under the age of 18 must wait six months after obtaining a learner’s permit to apply for a driver’s license,” etc.
It’s already illegal to use a handheld cell phone while driving (which fact the city sometimes uses to squeeze some revenue out of drivers), and as soon as the surveillance technology improves, we imagine they’ll start ticketing drivers for turning their heads too much when they talk to people riding shotgun, or looking at pretty girls on the sidewalk.