MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
An ACT to amend the vehicle and traffic law and the insurance law, in relation to making use of a portable electronic device while driving a primary offense and creating a cell phone safety component to the pre-licensing course.
On behalf of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police, we write to support Assembly bill A 9802 and urge its passage in both houses of the Legislature.
Many families and communities across New York State have been witness to a rash of horrific traffic accidents in recent years that are directly related to the use of cellular phones used for “text messaging”. These accidents have affected young drivers to a much higher degree than the driving population at large.
While many legislative solutions have been proposed they almost invariably treat the act of “text messaging” while operating a motor vehicle as a secondary offense, meaning traffic safety officers lack the authority to stop a driver for text messaging and inhibits their ability to protect the roadway for all drivers.
This legislation will make texting while driving a primary traffic safety offense and allow officers to pull over and ticket drivers up to $150 for doing so, thus providing a financial deterrent for drivers to cease texting while operating a motor vehicle.
Further, this legislation will mandate New York State pre-licensure courses, their corresponding written tests, and all motor vehicle accident prevention courses or defensive driving courses that qualify for mandatory insurance rate reduction upon completion, must include a section on “cell phone safety”.
Since this bill would make the use of a portable electronic device while driving a primary offense and create a cell phone safety component to the pre-licensing course, thereby deterring such reckless activity and protecting the safety of our drivers, we strongly urge that it be enacted into law.
New York State Association of Chiefs of Police