New York, NY – Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (Brooklyn-51 AD) today urged passage of bill A2453, a ban on text messaging while driving. The Assemblyman is now joined by more than 40 members of the Assembly in sponsoring this landmark yet common sense legislation banning the sending or reading of text messages on a cell phone or other electronic device. This bill has garnered bipartisan support and is once again being carried by Senator Marcellino in the Senate.
“When the state passed my legislation banning motorists from talking on a handheld cellular phone while driving, we took a major step towards making the roads of New York State safer for all. However, more needs to be done,” said Ortiz.
Text messaging while driving presents a clear danger to the driver and others on the road. Beyond the dangers of talking on a handheld cell phone, a driver’s eyes are taken off the road to read the message received or sent. Many lives have been claimed in crashes involving text messaging while driving, including one fiery crash outside of Rochester that took the lives of five high school girls. This month, a 22 year old woman was killed in a collision with a milk truck while texting behind the wheel.
In addition to a ban on text messaging while driving, Ortiz’s bill requires a lesson on the dangers of text messaging while driving be included in the pre-licensure course new drivers are already required to complete. These few moments of education are crucial for protecting the lives of young drivers.
Across the state, counties and municipalities have introduced just such a ban, including Suffolk, Westchester, Schenectady, Schuyler and Nassau counties. National support for such legislation has also been tremendous with several states considering such a ban.
“This kind of patchwork legislation governing text messaging while driving is confusing and ineffective. What is needed is comprehensive statewide legislation; we missed the opportunity last year when the same bill passed the Senate with wide support. This must be the year we say, ‘Enough is Enough,’ and ban text messaging while driving,” Ortiz said.