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NY State cracks down on use of hand-held devices in vehicles

West Seneca resident and mom Kelly Klein
photo by Joyce Kryszak
West Seneca resident and mom Kelly Klein

By Joyce Kryszak


Orchard Park, NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Orchard Park Thursday to sign the tough new statewide law that cracks down on texting.

The law, which actually took effect a few days ago, makes texting on - or even just holding an electronic device - while driving a primary offense.

That means if you are checking email, looking up a store or movie time on the web - or, of course, texting while you are driving - the police can now pull you over without having any other reason.

And the penalties are stiff.

Violators face a fine as much as $150 and three points added to their driver's license. Cuomo said it is a pervasive, dangerous problem that must be stopped.

"It's, literally, a matter of life and death and people can lose their lives and they have lost their lives," said Cuomo. "This law is simple. This law is impactful. And this law will be enforced."

Local and state law enforcement were there to applaud the stricter law, which they say will make it easier for them to crack down on violators. Kelly Klein hopes so, although it is too late for her.

"Unfortunately, my family has first hand knowledge of what can happen when someone chooses to text and drive. Three and a half years ago I lost my son A.J. Larson in a texting while driving accident. A.J. was texting instead of paying attention to driving. He ran a stop sign and drove into the path of a garbage truck. My boy A.J. died a short time later at the hospital. He was twenty-years old," said Klein.

Klein, a West Seneca resident, championed the bill and traveled the state fighting relentlessly to see it passed. Klein said she is convinced the law will save lives.