Texting-obsessed New Yorkers with an unquenchable desire to type messages from behind the wheel will soon have a place to safely stop and text—if they choose to actually pull over.
State officials unveiled Monday a “texting zones” plan that will create 91 designated texting areas along the New York State Thruway and other state highways. A state official said two of those zones will be on the Long Island Expressway between Exits 51 and 52 at an already existing rest stop for drivers headed both east and west.
The signs, which read “It Can Wait” and “Text Stop 5 Miles,” will go up in two to four weeks, the official said.
The plan, announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, comes nearly one month after New York State police ended a crackdown on distracted drivers, which yielded 21,580 tickets statewide from July 4 to Sept. 2. Overall, tickets for drivers either talking on cell phones or texting shot up 365 percent compared to last year.
“New York State is continuing to use every tool at its disposal to combat texting-while-driving,” Cuomo said. “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.”
“The accidents that result from the use of hand held devices are completely avoidable,” added State police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico. “Which is why we will continue to target distracted drivers who engage in this dangerous activity.”
The governor’s new initiative comes three months after he signed into law a bill that increases texting-while-driving penalties from three to five points.