Since last July, New York has issued 119,000 tickets to texting drivers. New York state is one of 35 states which completely bans the use of texting devices by drivers.

This is good news safe drivers, or anyone who travels on New York roadways.

New York was among the first states to enact a total ban on texting and driving, but stopped short of banning the use of all handheld devices. This was the recommendation of the National Transportation Safety Board following its December report which showed thet not only was distracted driving responsible for more traffic fatalities that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but also that it was on the rise in every state.

This report was accompanied by a recommendation from the NTSB that all state legislators immediately issue complete and total bans on the use any and all handheld devices by drivers. The NTSB pointed to research which showed quite clearly that drivers who were engaged in conversations, even while using a hands free device which much more likely to have a collision than drivers who had their full attention on the road.

New York may have stopped short of a total ban on the use of handheld devices, but it has seriously stepped up efforts to curb distracted driving. New York police are now empowered to stop drivers who appear to be distracted even if they are not actively violating any driving laws. Once they make a stop they may cite a driver they find was distracted either through the use of a texting device or by some other thing. Even adjusting the radio dial can be enough of a distraction to cause a serious crash.

When it comes to distracted driving it doesn’t take much to cause a collision, but fortunately, it takes even less to avoid being distracted in the first place: common sense.