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Stiffened state fines for texting while driving in effect

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Increased fines for texting while driving went into effect statewide on Friday.

Fines for first-time offenders increased from $50 to $150 under the plan, which is part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to curtail the use of cellphones on the road. Fines for second-time offenders who text and drive within 18 months of another texting offense increased from $50 to $200. Fines for offenders who violate the law three or more times will increase from $50 to $400.

“Distracted driving has become a frightening epidemic on our roadways, and fines are an important tool to punish and prevent this reckless behavior,” Mr. Cuomo said in a release. “Combined with stronger penalties on your license and increased enforcement, these increased fines will send a tough message to all drivers that distracted driving is a serious problem with serious consequences.”

Visit www.dmv.ny.gov/cellphone.htm for more information on the state’s cellphone and texting laws.

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