So people actually do get stopped for texting while driving

texting while drivingAlmost 21,000 tickets for texting-while-driving were issued by police in New York State over the last year, according to numbers from the Cuomo admin. And, look, county-by-county numbers for the past year (year before that):

Albany County: 539 (75)
Rensselaer County: 163 (21)
Saratoga County: 326 (42)
Schenectady County: 69 (18)

(It appears that Albany County racked up that total thanks in part to a sweep this spring by the county sheriff's office that netted 230 tickets for talking or texting while driving. [Troy Record])

The totals were released to mark one year since the state law making TWD a primary traffic offense took effect. That means police can now pull a person over just for that -- before you had to be doing something else to get stopped (like swerving over the double yellow because you were sending email). And it looks like people are getting pulled over for it.

You might think you can text and drive with no problem -- we're all above average drivers, right (oh, wait...) -- but probably not. There's research that indicates a distracted driver is about as bad as a driver with a .08 blood alcohol level, which is the legal limit for drunk driving. (The New York Times produced a good series about the risks of distracted driving.)

All county totals after the jump, if you're curious.

photo: Flickr user mrJasonWeaver (cc)

Comments

If you think about it, anything can be a distraction while driving: the radio, smoking a cigarette, scratching a lottery ticket, food or nonalcoholic beverages, unruly children or other passengers, pets which really need to be in carriers while the car is in motion (some states have laws that make it illegal for a dog/cat to not be in a carrier or buckled up while driving)... why not just have one law for Driving While Distracted?

It's funny you post this today because my husband and I were on Wolf Road today and we had this woman, probably in her 40's, in front of us in traffic and I could tell she was texting. We had to beep our horn at her to get her to go when the light was green, and we're very patient people. She proceeded to text while driving and she was all over the road from then on.for about a mile and then we turned off. Scary stuff. Also, we were traveling north to see my family in the Plattsburgh area last week and there was someone texting while driving on 87. We were doing about 65 MPH and she passed us! Funny thing about that is she drove much betterthan the lady on Wolf Road today!

Saw one of these menaces on the road today. He kept looking down, then up quickly for a second and back down. Wove all over the road, all while going faster than the general flow of traffic and passing folks. Was really wishing for a cop I could flag down, but alas, no such luck.

Isn't drowsy sleeping comparable to drunk driving, too? I don't see anyone legislating for a mandatory ten hour period between commutes or regulating the use of caffeine after six p.m.

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