County Launches Pilot Program To Combat Texting While Driving

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Texting_AThe Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency (TPVA) and Nassau County Police Department have launched a new educational pilot program intended to address distracted driving by changing behavior and enhancing pedestrian and vehicular safety. While under the law motorists convicted of using a mobile phone or portable electronic device receive five points on their license, this program provides violators an opportunity to change their behavior rather than receive points.

“Texting while driving jeopardizes the lives and safety of innocent people,” said County Executive Ed Mangano. “With mounting technologies, distracted driving has become even more prevalent and this educational pilot program seeks to change driver behavior.”

Under the program, violators will plead guilty to a lesser charge (four points and $283 fee) and waive their appeal, while still paying their full fine on the date of disposition. Their court case will be adjourned for approximately 120 days. Within 10 days, they must register to have a device installed in their vehicle, at their own cost (approximately $125), which will prevent the unlawful use of any electronic device by the motorist. The device will be monitored and will generate a report, to then be presented on the adjourned court date. If the report is deemed satisfactory by TPVA, the original plea will be reduced to a plea of guilty and a no-point violation will be substituted. The fine previously imposed and paid will remain the same. If the report is not submitted or deemed unsatisfactory, the original plea will be entered and four points will be placed on the motorists’ license.

The National Highway Safety Administration has reported that since 2012, distracted driving was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes and that a motorists using an electronic device is 23 times more likely to be in crash. The Nassau County Traffic Safety Board reports that crashes related to texting-while-driving increased in the county from 87 in 2014 to 112 in 2015. Approximately 8,000 violations were issued in Nassau County for distracted driving by law enforcement agencies in 2015.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is doing its part via efforts to stop texting and cell phone use behind the wheel.

Since 2009, the DOT has held two national distracted driving summits, banned texting and cell phone use for commercial drivers, encouraged states to adopt tough laws, and launched several campaigns to raise public awareness about the issue.

Distraction.gov is your resource for learning more about distracted driving. Get the facts, get involved, and help us keep America’s roadways safe.

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