New York Sends Message With 119,000 Tickets for Distracted Drivers

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Young man on the cell phone doesn't like what he hears Photo: unknown

Some call it multitasking. New York state calls driving while texting or chatting (without an approved hands-free device) a potentially fatal act and a primary traffic offense with an accompanying $150 fine. Since enacting a stricter driving law last July, New York officers have ticketed 119,000 motorists statewide for talking on phones without a hands-free device, or for texting, composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, or transmitting messages, or pretty much any iteration of "using," their phones. New York City accounted for 73,000 tickets, led by 21,458 in Manhattan. Some drivers, like the gal in the stock photo at left, go for broke and light up while talking on the phone, staring aimlessly at the other lane.