More than one hundred eighteen thousand motorists have been ticketed since the law went into effect in July, 2011 for using their cell phone while driving. In the United States each year more than five thousand people have died in traffic accidents due to people texting and using the handheld cell phone for other uses. In addition, to the deaths, more than four hundred forty thousand people have been injured.
Under the new law in New York, using any type electronic handheld device is a primary offense if they are caught doing it while driving. Now police can pull over a car if the driver is seen doing this whereas before the law went into effect, police could only give the driver a ticket for cell phone use if they were pulled over for another offense first.
Because of the new law, the number of tickets issued has doubled for this offense. Between January and July 11, 2011 there were two thousand six hundred ninety one tickets issued to drivers who were sending text messages. From that date until the end of the year the number of tickets jumped to seven thousand four hundred ninety five for that same offense. In addition, since the day the law went into effect, the police have issued eleven thousand two hundred sixty-two tickets to drivers who were using their handheld cell phones in other ways besides texting.
The police are hoping that motorists will get the hint that they need to keep their hands on the steering wheel, eyes on the road, and their cell phone put away.