Texting-While-Driving LawsNew laws governing cellphone use in the state of New York went into effect on Saturday. The laws increased fines and punishments for individuals convicted of texting while driving and talking while driving.

Ever since New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo began his term in 2011, the governor has been advocating for tougher texting-while-driving regulations. According to the governor, and leading advocates for safe driving practices, texting while driving is extremely dangerous, especially for young drivers. As part of his State of State address in January, the governor said that texting while driving results in more fatalities than drunk driving for teens.

First-Time Violators Face 120-Day License Suspension

According to the new laws, drivers under the age of 21 who are convicted of first-offense texting-while-driving or first-offense talking-while-driving will face 120 days of license suspension. If convicted of a second-offense violation (within six months of getting their licenses restored), young drivers could have their licenses revoked for up to a year.

Fines for first-, second- and third-offense violations have also been increased by $50 each in the state. First-offense fines will be $200, second-offense fines will be $250, and third-offense fines will be $450.

As of last year, license points were also increased in New York relating to texting-while-driving and talking-while-driving convictions, from three points up to five. New York drivers could suffer license suspensions if they get as many as 11 points on their licenses inside an 18-month time frame.

Safety Advocates Are Praising the New Laws

Advocates for highway safety have praised New York for increasing the severity of its laws relating to texting while driving. They have also praised the state's increased enforcement of cellphone-related safety, such as "texting zones." These are highway rest areas that encourage drivers to pull over should they need to use their phones.

Laws relating to texting while driving have increased in severity throughout the country in recent years, as it has become increasingly clear how dangerous this irresponsible behavior is. Individuals who have been injured in car accidents caused by drivers who violate cellphone laws can also fight back by filing personal injury claims in court. Drivers who illegally use their cellphones while driving can be held liable for the property damages, physical injuries and wrongful deaths they cause as a result of their unlawful behavior.