Ban on Text Messaging While Driving Passes Assembly

June 17, 2009
On June 17, 2009, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh joined many of his Assembly colleagues in voting for passage of bill A.08568B, sponsored by Transportation Committee Chair David Gantt, which would ban the use of portable electronic devices, including hand-held mobile phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs), while operating a motor vehicle.

Studies have shown that use of these devices while driving can be a significant distraction and a threat to public safety. The legislature previously recognized the danger of talking on hand-held phones while driving back in 2001, adopting a statewide ban. With the current prevalence of texting and other uses of portable electronic devices that can be similarly distracting, the Assembly acknowledged, by passing A.08568B, the need for the law to catch up with technology and consumer habits.

As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 25 percent of all police-reported crashes involve driver inattention, this bill would be a great step toward protecting drivers, passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and all other road users throughout New York. Kavanagh hopes that the Senate will pass this important legislation and that Governor David Paterson will sign it into law.