It's not a new law, but police don't want you to text while driving. Signs are now posted along major highways in the state, warning you about new penalties for breaking this law. As our Iris St. Meran explains, there's a hefty price to pay for not complying.
NEW YORK STATE -- Texting just a few words can spell big trouble for motorists who are driving in New York. Posted signs on highways inform drivers that penalties are now up to $150 fines and five points on your license.
Onondaga County Deputy Sheriff Sergeant Crayg Dykes said, "Five points is very significant. We're hoping it will be a deterrent. If we think back to times in our life when we didn't wear seatbelts or we drank and drove. All of those things, as a nation, we've been able to change the way we think about those things."
Sergeant Dykes says you should think twice before picking up your cell phone to send or receive a text or even use a MP3 player or other electronic device. Dykes explains taking your eyes off the road even briefly can have an impact.
"If the average text message, takes you five seconds to type,” Dykes added. “That's equivalent of driving the entire distance of a football field with your eyes close at 55 miles per hour."
He says you're five times more likely to be killed or injured in a car crash when compared with another dangerous habit drinking and driving. So if that text message is important, you should pull over. They stress when behind the wheel, paying attention to the road is the number one priority.
With school back in session, police also want you to be aware of school zones and buses, urging you not to pass a school bus. They also want you to move over for emergency and hazard vehicles stopped on the side of the road.
For more information on texting and driving penalties, visit www.dmv.ny.gov.