Police in New York issued more than 20,000 tickets since the state's tougher texting-while-driving ban took effect a year ago — four times the amount in the prior year, reports the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill to ban texting-while-driving a year ago after a number of fatal accidents involving teenagers who were texting behind the wheel. The law took effect July 12, 2011.
The law allows police to pull over drivers specifically for texting. A law in 2009 made texting a secondary infraction, meaning police could only issue a ticket if a driver was pulled over for another offense, such as erratic driving. Police have said that the change has allowed them to more aggressively enforce the law. The law also increased the penalty for using a handheld device while driving from two to three points on a license. In the year prior to the 2011 law, police in New York issued 4,569 tickets for texting-while-driving violations. Since then, 20,958 tickets have been issued.