Numbers show large crack-down on texting while driving
Posted at: 07/12/2012 10:56 PM
| Updated at: 07/12/2012 11:19 PM
By: Lynette Adams | WHEC.com
In July of 2011, state figures showed police across the state had given out 4,500 tickets for people caught texting while driving -- that's before texting while driving became a primary offense. Before, you had to be stopped for something else first.
That all changed last year and the number of tickets has increased dramatically.
“I find myself doing it. It's something I try to avoid. It definitely is very distracting.”
Rochester resident Jason Petroff says it's not something he's proud of, but he admits he occasionally sends text messages while he's driving. This recent Ohio transplant doesn't think much of the law.
“I still see people everyday talking on their cell phones in New York State. Even though there's the risk of getting a ticket, they'd rather take the risk and do their business on their phone than worry about other drivers.”
Governor Cuomo released figures Thursday showing the number of tickets issued since texting and driving became a primary offense a year ago.
There were 20,900 tickets -- four times the number handed out the previous year. There were 687 issued in Monroe County the eighth highest in the state.
“I think our strategy in Monroe County is working. We work closely with the law enforcement agencies through the traffic safety board and we focus on education, engineering, enforcement and clearly the enforcement is starting to work.”
Steve Bowman is the Director of Public Safety for Monroe County. He thinks the answer is learning how to use technology responsibly. Former Paetec CEO Arunis Chesonis says a new app hitting the market in August could be the answer.
“If you can't pass a test, which is virtually impossible, I've tried it. While you're driving by yourself it’s going to deactivate your phone,” Chesosis says.
Chesonis sits on the board of a company called "10 and 2" which has created a new app designed for professional and personal use.Iit requires you to pass a simple test before you can use your phone in a moving vehicle. It works through the phone's GPS.
“What's unique about this app is if you try to disconnect your GPS, kind of like my kids would figure out a way to do that. It’s going to notify your parent or your employer as well as shut down your entire phone.”
That means you can't cheat this app unlike some others that are strictly voluntary. This new application will be available on August 1 through iTunes and other app stores.