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New stats show rise in distracted driving violations in New York

When law enforcement efforts coincide with an increase in traffic citations, New York citizens and criminal law experts alike often begin to question the correlation. Could an increase in offenses be resulting in a higher number of citations and arrests, or are focused efforts leading to more identified violations? These types of questions were being asked in response to evidence suggesting that texting-while-driving traffic violations are on the rise in the Big Apple.

According to a representative for the New York Police Department, authorities have been placing more emphasis on enforcing road safety guidelines regarding distracted driving and other related offenses. In particular, NYPD officers have concentrated on combating texting-while-driving. In 2011, distracted driving regulations were strengthened, and now the results of those efforts are beginning to become apparent.

According to the Governor’s Office, just a little over 9,000 texting-while-driving citations were issued across the state in 2011. In 2014, that number rose to around 75,000 summonses. Discussing the sharp increase in distracted driving and texting-while-driving traffic violations, one source explained that improved enforcement efforts are the cause for the spike.

Law enforcement officers are reportedly becoming more accustomed to identifying distracted driving behaviors like using a cell phone in one’s lap. Beyond that, they are receiving more pressure from the state government level to crack down on distracted driving violations linked to cell phones and other devices. The source reaffirmed the belief that texting-while-driving incidents are not on the rise, and that it is enforcement efforts that are resulting in more citations.

Source: New York Post, “Drivers don’t get the message: Texting-while-driving tickets soar,” Kirstan Conley and Daniel Prendergast, April 14, 2015

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