New York State drivers will now have designated areas to pull over and send a text message.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled on Monday 91 texting zone locations along the state thruway and state highways in the latest effort to cut down on distracted driving.
"In addition to tougher penalties, new detection methods for state police and ongoing public outreach efforts, we are now launching special Texting Zones to allow motorists to pull over and use their phones," Cuomo said. "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."
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The governor also announced a 365 percent increase in tickets issued in summer 2013 compared to summer 2012 for distracted driving. This summer, state police issued 21,580 tickets, surpassing last summer's total of 5,208 tickets.
The texting zones are located in areas throughout upstate New York and in Suffolk County in Long Island.
Drivers will be able to identify the designated areas via 298 new signs that will tell them how many miles are left until the next stop.
"Five minutes really won't make a difference," Cuomo said. "It really won't. It can wait. And if you wait until you're in a rest area or in a service area, you literally may be saving someone's life — and the life you save may be your own."