New York traffic safety officials take the threat of texting and driving so seriously drivers who violate the existing New York law banning the action face not only fines but also three points added to their license. Also, New York police are empowered to pull over and cite drivers they believe might be texting and driving.

The New York law is designed to empower police to find and punish drivers who violate the law because they recognize the dangers of distracted driving. This belief is based on a growing number of reports that distracted driving is becoming the most dangerous thing you can do behind the wheel short of closing your eyes. And distracted driving is tantamount to doing just that because it requires you to take your eyes and your attention off the road ahead of you and focus it on something else. The time it takes you to send a text message is more than enough for the car ahead of you to suddenly slow down, a child to dart in the road a head of you or the traffic light to change. During those few moments you are looking away from the road the conditions you are driving could change dramatically and you would be none the wiser until your vehicle came into contact with something or went off the road.

The New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee web site has an entire section devoted to the dangers of distracted driving and the state’s harsh line against it. You can learn even more about the punishment and restrictions for distracted driving from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles also contains this brief synopsis of the penalties for doing it:

New York State has a law that does not allow you to use a hand-held mobile telephone while you drive. If you use a hand-held mobile telephone while you drive, except to call 911 or to contact medical, fire or police personnel about an emergency, you can receive a traffic ticket and pay a maximum fine of $100 and mandatory surcharges and fees of up to $85. For offenses committed on and after October 5, 2011, this violation also carries three driver violation points.