October 4, 2013
DA Rice Seeking Stronger Laws to
Protect Against Texting-While-Driving
Proposes Three New Reforms and Asks Governor Cuomo to
Help Make Nassau a Model for Rest of State and Nation
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, a nationally-recognized leader in the fight for safer roads, proposed three new reforms to state texting-while-driving laws and asked Governor Andrew Cuomo to work with her to make Nassau County the location for innovative new pilot programs in distracted driving prevention and enforcement.
“You have been a leader in our state in acting to change behavior on the roads and to better protect innocent motorists from texting drivers,” wrote DA Rice in an October 2 letter to Governor Cuomo, who introduced and signed into law tough new penalties for texting while driving this year.“Now, with a new legislative session approaching, I am asking that our offices work together to make New York an even tougher, national leader in combating this deadly epidemic… As the district attorney of Nassau County, I am more than willing to offer my jurisdiction for a new anti-texting-while-driving pilot and educational efforts that, if successful, can be replicated across the state and country.”
In addition to seeking to work with Governor Cuomo to start pilot prevention and enforcement practices in Nassau County, DA Rice proposed that the state reform texting-while-driving laws in three ways:
- Have penalties apply to motorists who are stopped at lights or stationary in traffic, not just those who are in motion.
- Reform the state criminal code’s vehicular assault statutes to include specific texting-while-driving provisions
- Adopt uniform evidence collection procedures for police departments across the state and help investigators obtain cell phone records for those involved in fatal automobile crashes.
“We have an opportunity in New York to become a model for how to address this growing national problem,” DA Rice wrote in her letter.“As the president of District Attorneys Association of the State of New York, I look forward to partnering our state’s prosecutors with your administration’s extraordinary work in this arena.”