New York State drivers to get cell phone texting zones

Distracted driving is not a new phenomenon. Even before cell phones, drivers could be seen putting on make-up, shaving and eating during their daily commute. However, the cell phone and ultimately text messaging has seemingly exacerbated the dangerous practice. You see, according to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, there has been "a 365 percent increase in tickets issued in summer 2013 compared to summer 2012 for distracted driving".

In an effort to reduce this, the Governor explains, "in addition to tougher penalties, new detection methods for State Police and ongoing public outreach efforts, we are now launching special Texting Zones to allow motorists to pull over and use their phones. These Zones will be identified with signs along the Thruway and State Highways, reminding drivers that there is a nearby opportunity for them to legally and safely use their phone. With this new effort, we are sending a clear message to drivers that there is no excuse to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road because your text can wait until the next Texting Zone".

Distracted driving is a serious problem, however, enabling these irresponsible drivers shouldn't be the answer. In other words, no text-message is so important that you would have to pull off the road in the middle of your trip.

According to the Governor, "a total of 298 signs will be located along major highways across the state, notifying motorists to 91 Texting Zone locations". As a New Yorker, I feel that this is a waste of tax-payer money. Not only must the Texting Zones and signs be maintained, but they may require an increased police presence.

Quite frankly, telling thieves the exact location that drivers will be pulling over to use their expensive smartphones is a huge blunder. Reports of high-crime at these locations is a distinct possibility. A person pulling into a Texting Zone late at night is an easy target -- the light from the phone will illuminate the person so thieves can get a good look at their target.

My suggestion to the Governor is figure out a way to charge people for pulling into the designated area. Let these text-crazy people pay for it, rather than all New York State taxpayers.

Do you want your state to establish Texting Zones? Are you willing to spend the tax dollars? Tell me in the comments.

Photo Credit: Alan Poulson Photography /Shutterstock

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