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Increased texting-while-driving fines in effect
Rochester, N.Y. – New and increased fines for distracted driving, including texting and driving, went into effect Friday.
The $1 million legislation, signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, includes increased enforcement and patrols, especially by unmarked State Police SUVs. The Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles are on higher platforms, allowing officers to see into other vehicles better and detect individuals in the process of sending text messages.
As of Friday, for distracted driving violations that occur on or after July 26, 2013, there are new minimum fines and higher maximum fines:
- For a first offense, the minimum fine is $50 and maximum fine increases to $150.
- For a second offense committed within 18 months, the minimum fine is $50 and the maximum fine increases to $200.
- For a third or subsequent offense committed within 18 months, the minimum fine is $50 and the maximum fine increases to $400.
Also, new drivers face tougher penalties for texting-while-driving. The new law mandates that drivers with junior licenses will have their license suspended for 60 days if convicted of a distracted driving offense.
Distracted driving includes texting behind the wheel, or using any electronic device.
In Monroe County – 4,200 traffic tickets were given for distracted driving in 2012 and 1,116 so far in 2013.