New York Governor Turns Rest Stops Into "Texting Zones" for Distracted Drivers

Get used to hearing the term "Text Stop" because it's a real thing now. New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the creation of special "Texting Zones" where motorists can pull off the road and safely respond to that all-important text message that just can't wait. The initiative is an ambitious effort to reduce the prominence of distracted driving due to texting while behind the wheel, which some studies have shown is even more deadly than drinking and driving.

Existing Park-n-Ride facilities, rest stops, and another parking areas along New York's Thruway and Highways will serve dual-functions as Texting Zones, with signage placed along the highway to let drivers know how close they are to the nearest one. There will be 298 signs in all pointing motorists to 91 Texting Zones.

Texting Zones

"New York State is continuing to use every tool at its disposal to combat texting while driving," Governor Cuomo said. "In addition to tougher penalties, new detection methods for State Police and ongoing public outreach efforts, we are now launching special Texting Zones to allow motorists to pull over and use their phones. These Zones will be identified with signs along the Thruway and State Highways, reminding drivers that there is a nearby opportunity for them to legally and safely use their phone. With this new effort, we are sending a clear message to drivers that there is no excuse to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road because your text can wait until the next Texting Zone."

Drivers who don't take advantage of Texting Zones when firing off text messages risk heavy fines. New York issued 21,580 tickets in the summer of 2013 for distracted driving, a 365 percent increase over the 5,208 tickets it wrote for the same offense one year prior.