NEW YORK CITY — Young drivers in New York will now have their licenses suspended for 60 days if they’re caught texting behind the wheel.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a new law on Monday raising the penalty for drivers with permits and probationary or junior licenses who are caught texting or using handheld devices while on the road.
Under the new legislation, drivers caught twice within six months will have their licenses revoked — a junior license for 60 days and a probationary license for eight months. The punishment is as stiff as what drivers face for speeding, reckless driving or tailgating, officials said.
“Statistic after statistic shows that texting-while-driving is a chronic problem in our society, particularly among teenagers, and it will only get worse if we do not take action to prevent this deadly behavior,” Cuomo said in a statement.
“That is what this law will do: it will make drivers of all ages think twice before taking their eyes off the road to answer a message on their phone.”
Last month, the DMV the upped number of points — from three to five — assigned to any license for drivers caught using a cell phone behind the wheel. That's a penalty that's now as strict as that for reckless driving.