Here's another reason to put down your cell phone while driving. Anyone caught using their cell phone behind the wheel will now get two points on their driver's license. The new law begins Wednesday, February 16th.
Previously, you got two points on your license for texting while driving. Now, you'll face the punishment if either texting or talking behind the wheel.
"Distracted driving is one of the most serious dangers on our roadways today," said DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner J. David Sampson. "By strengthening the current law, our hope is that motorists will become even more aware of the potential consequences of their actions if they use a cell phone while driving."
In November 2001, New York became the first state in the country to adopt a state-wide ban on handheld cell phone use while driving and established a fine for the violation of up to $100.
Eight year later, in November 2009, a law banning texting while driving went into effect. If caught, that's two points on your license and a $150 fine.
Officials at the DMV say driver distraction is a contributing factor in at least one out of five crashes here in New York. In 2009, nearly 5,500 people died nationwide in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver and more than 440,000 were injured.
Each year, police issue more than 300,000 tickets statewide for cell phone violations.
Do you talk to text behind the wheel? Is the new law enough to get you to put down your cell phone while driving? What do you think should be done to crack down on distracted driving? Leave your thoughts below.