New York police cracked down on drivers distracted by their smartphones this past summer to the tune of a 365 percent increase (compared to summer 2012) in the number of tickets issued for texting while driving. Because the epidemic shows no sign of deceleration, New York is trying a different approach by designating rest stops along highways as "texting zones."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiled the new project Monday. It will consist of installing nearly 300 blue signs across 91 rest stops and parking areas where motorists can pull over and take care of their phone business away from traffic. The signs will carry messages like, "It can wait. Text stop 5 miles."
In his remarks, Cuomo said: "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."
The zones are designed to complement other efforts aimed at reducing texting while driving. Police are using tall, unmarked vehicles with high sight lines to spot violators. Also, the penalties for distracted driving have been increased from three to five points on a driver's license. Distracted driving includes texting, talking, or playing games on a handheld mobile device.
What do you think? Will New York's texting zones help curb the distracted driving problem?