Teens target of cellphone blitz
YOU COULD BE BANNED FROM DRIVING: A six-month driving ban will handed out to repeat offenders caught using their cellphones while driving in New York.Image - YouTube
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NEW YORK CITY, US - New York has introduced stiff new penalties for teenagers who send text messages while driving, saying the measures are necessary to tackle "a deadly problem".
Under a law signed by governor Andrew Cuomo, drivers under the age of 18 will have their licence suspended, even for a first offence. The legal driving age in New York is from 16.
The 60-day driving suspension will apply to all drivers caught using cellphones while driving, including reading or sending messages.
Although South Africa has laws in place, consequences do not include licence suspension. In 2012 Wheels24 reported that a new traffic by-law was passed in 2011 in Cape Town where offenders talking on cellphones while driving, would be fined and have their device confiscated.
Cuomo said: "Statistic after statistic shows that texting while driving is a chronic problem in our society, particularly among teenagers, and it will only get worse if we do not take action to prevent this deadly behavior."
A second offence would be punishable by a six-month driving ban under the new law, which also applies to newly-licensed drivers. More experienced drivers would be sanctioned by a system of penalty points.
A recent study published in the Journal of Paediatrics found that 45% of school-age drivers admitted sometimes sending SMS messages while driving.
In the US, 69% of drivers aged 18-64 have acknowledged speaking on a mobile phone while driving, with 31% admitting to reading emails or text messages while on the road.
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