When the National Transportation Safety Board asked every state to ban the use of handheld devices by all drivers, many state legislators saw it as a slap in the face of Freedom.

New Yorkers saw it as business as usual.

Last July, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law allowing police to pull over drivers they saw using any handheld devices while driving. Prior to that bill, police had to find some other reason to pull you over, and then they could cite you for using a handheld device on top of whatever else they pulled you over for.

The new law says drivers in their state cannot even hold a handheld mobile phone, laptop, pager, electronic game, two-way messaging device or any other device used to write, read, send, browse or communicate, much less use these things. Anyone who is busted for this offense faces a maximum fine of $150 for the first offense and three points on their license. The prices go up from there.

The fact is, New Yorkers already understand what the NTSB has been trying to convince everyone else of: distracted driving is the single most serious threat to public safety on the roadways. Period. It’s worse even than drunk driving because when you’re drunk you know you’re drunk and so you might exhibit some caution, but when you’re texting you’re oblivious to the outside world and don’t even realize you’re heading straight for oncoming traffic until you hit something.

There are literally millions of vehicles on the roads of New York every day. This greatly adds to the traffic congestion, confusion and driving nightmares that people experience when they try to get around the state. the last thing they need is some yahoo trying to send his momma a text about being late for dinner while he’s tearing down the Queen’s Expressway. That type of behavior can turn a bad day in traffic into an even worse day in the intensive care unit.

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