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Cracking down on drivers using cell phones

Rochester, N.Y. – This week Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law harsher punishments for those caught talking on their cell phones or texting behind the wheel.

But, despite laws against it we all see people doing it.

“I drive around all day for work and I literally see I would say about 70% of the people on the road are texting and driving,” said Janine Bennis.

State police are doing what they can.

Since the beginning of the month they’ve been using unmarked vehicles to crack down on distracted drivers.

The state's increasing fines for those caught texting or talking on their phone while driving.

A first-time offender's fine can triple, the minimum fine is $50 and maximum fine increases to $150.

If you're caught a second time within 18 months - the maximum fine increases to $200.

And, for a third or subsequent offense committed within 18 months the maximum fine increases to $400.

“I think they're wonderful,” said Evelyn Krane, when asked what she thought about the harsher penalties. “I think it's a pure recipe for disaster when people are texting and driving.”

Others agreed, something has to be done to keep people from using their phones behind the wheel.

“People get in a lot of accidents and stuff because of it,” said Sam Madda. “I definitely think people should be penalized more if people are texting while driving.”

“It's a distraction, you know, you're not concentrating,” said Jason Sampson, when asked about texting and driving. “Not only are you not concentrating because you're thinking about texting but you're also driving with one hand.”

The number of points assessed to your license has also increased from 3 to 5.

Those with junior licenses could face suspensions ranging from 60 days to 6 months.    

“I think it might be a deterrent,” said Krane, when asked what she thought if the penalties would work."

“I think for the younger people it would be the fines,” said Bennis, “but for me anyways, the points would be a huge thing, for my job I need a clean license.” 

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Washington Times