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Freeway "text stops" will now be gracing New York highways, as a reminder to drivers that texting can wait.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the "text stop" initiative Monday, showing off prototype blue and white signs declaring the distance to the text stop as well as the credo "It Can Wait," The Associated Press reports.
Will these signs help drivers avoid tickets for texting and driving?
According to the AP, New York state police issued more than 20,000 tickets for distracted driving in the summer of 2013 -- about four times the number issued in the summer of 2012.
The increase isn't a coincidence; Cuomo has stepped up enforcement of distracted driving laws since July 2013, even employing special anti-texting SUVs to catch texting drivers.
Penalties for texting and driving have increased as well; New Yorkers can now expect five points on their licenses for texting and driving instead of three.
But Cuomo isn't all stick and no carrot. He wants New Yorkers to start embracing good driving habits by using newly implemented "Texting Zones."
According to a press release from the Governor's Office, the Empire State's freeways will boast 91 of these texting zones -- many of which are simply rebranded rest stops and Park-n-Ride lots.
The idea of designated texting zones seems to work for airports (cell phone lots are a godsend). Making it more convenient for drivers to pull over and text may keep many New Yorkers out of jail.
While cracking down on texting and driving may seem like a good tactic, it may move drivers in a more dangerous direction. A recent study by AAA in California found that despite the state's spearheading the no-texting-and-driving movement, drivers have actually been texting more since the practice was outlawed.
Hopefully New York's new "text stop" signs (and harsh penalties) will keep drivers' eyes on the road and not on their smartphones.
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