The State of New York announced it has issued four times more tickets for texting while driving when compared to the previous year, more than 20,000 tickets since the law took effect on July 12, 2011. During the prior year, before the law took effect, the State issued 4,569 tickets for texting while driving violations.

The new law increases the penalty for using a handheld device from two to three points and makes texting while driving a primary traffic offense, giving police officers the power to stop drivers for this offense alone.

“The major increase in tickets issued for texting-while-driving violations since this law went into effect demonstrates its usefulness in helping our law enforcement authorities crack down hard on distracted driving,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “Using a handheld device while driving puts other motorists in danger and can lead to tragic consequences. These tickets should send a resounding message to all drivers: keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. I thank the State Police and local law enforcement for their dedication to ensuring the safety of the people of the state of New York.”

Businesses in many states can be liable if employees drive while using a handheld device, and one of the first necessary steps is forming and implementing a cell phone policy. Click here to read "6 Keys to an Effective Cell Phone Policy."