We were under the impression that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s law making texting-while-driving a primary traffic offense in New York was designed to prevent people from, well, texting while driving.
That said, the gov’s now crowing about how successful the law is by announcing that there have been more than four times the number of tickets issued in New York for texting while driving this year than there were last year — which seems like an (ahem) interesting way to boast the “success” of the year-old law.
In other words, Cuomo is basically saying that the law — again, intended on keeping people from texting while driving — is a success because there are more people getting caught doing it. Not that it’s a success because there are less people doing it — which we’d venture to guess isn’t the case (we still text while driving, like, all the time — despite Cuomo’s law. Thug Lyfe!).
Further, the huge increase could potentially indicate that there are even more people texting while driving.
Regardless, Cuomo claims the following:
“The major increase in tickets issued for texting-while-driving
violations since this law went into effect demonstrates its usefulness
in helping our law enforcement authorities crack down hard on distracted
driving. Using a handheld device while driving
puts other motorists in danger and can lead to tragic consequences.
These tickets should send a resounding message to all drivers: keep your
eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. I thank the State Police
and local law enforcement for their dedication to ensuring the safety of
the people of the state of New York.”
As we mentioned, the law, enacted last year, makes using a handheld
device while driving a “primary traffic offense,” which means cops can
stop you for doing only that — they no longer need to find some other
reason to stop you, like a broken taillight, and then say, “oh, by the
way, you’re also texting while driving…”
Last year, there were 4,569 texting-while-driving tickets issued statewide. This year, there have been 20,958.
Granted, the law gives law enforcement more authority to stop
distracted drivers. However, that doesn’t mean the law is doing anything
to actually curb distracted driving, and the fact that four times as
many people are getting cited for doing it certainly doesn’t mean the
law is a “success” — unless by “success” the governor is talking about
the extra coin the state is raking in ticketing texting motorists.
If that’s Cuomo’s definition of success, let’s just call the law what it is: a state-sanctioned money grab.