A recent study by automobile insurers shows that efforts by New York state to get drivers to put down their handheld devices and focus on driving by imposing strict fines, seems to be working. New York and Connecticut both instituted new bans on the use of handheld devices by drivers, and the results have so far been positive.

Automobile insurers also credit a flurry of public awareness programs and increased police vigilance for helping to curb the use of handheld devices. We would like to take a little credit for the increase in New York defensive driving, but whatever works makes us happy.

Insurance companies in New York already offer a discount for drivers who successfully complete a defensive driving course NY program. This can be as high as a 10 percent discount for some drivers, making a defensive driving course an attractive option.

The fact is, recent studies have shown that more than 10 percent of all accidents in the United States happen as a result of distracted driving. The driver is usually texting, talking on a cell phone or using some sort of handheld device while trying to navigate their way through busy intersections or just tooling down the road. Distracted driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence simply because drivers think they’re just fine chit-chatting away, and stop being cautious altogether, whereas a drunk driver might actually express some desire to stay out of the way, usually by driving on the sidewalk.

We’re not here to argue whether distracted driving is worse than drunk driving, however. We think they’re both just about the worst possible thing to do behind the wheel. And as the owners of MyImprovNewYork.com we know a lot about defensive driving.

So do yourself a favor, don’t risk a ticket and don’t risk your life just so you can send your friend a text message telling what you could tell them in person when you get there safely.

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