Gov. Andrew Cuomo today signed a bill that makes driving while texting a primary violation — that is, the cops can pull you over for it even if it's all you're doing wrong (obviously, it's a big wrong — an estimated 16 percent of fatal accidents are caused by distracted drivers).
"I am proud to sign this bill today, both as the Governor and as a father of three teenagers," Mr. Cuomo said in a news release.
And through a regulatory prerogative, the governor is bumping up the penalty from two points to three points, after the Legislature failed to do that itself.
As I've quickly learned, Northern New York is not the place for the those with lead feet or otherwise careless driving habits. I've been here for a little over a year and have been nailed with three speeding tickets — 81 in a 65 on I-81, 83 in a 65 somewhere east of Malone, and 45 in a 30 in the village of Canton.
The other day, I got pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, which I found out is also a primary violation. I was wearing a bright orange T-shirt (Go 'Cuse!) so the officer told me he could easily see that I wasn't wearing the black belt. He advised me to wear darker clothes in the future. I think I'm just going to spray paint my seatbelt orange.
Oh, and in St. Lawrence County, a sheriff's deputy pulled me over and said I was texting someone. I guess it wasn't a primary violation at the time, so his generosity in letting me off without a ticket has been cheapened.
By the way, if you're counting at home, that's five times in one year getting pulled over. I'm not even counting the times that border patrol has given me the third degree.
Boy, do I miss Boston.
(By the way, I realize that the aforementioned problems are my own, not the fault of the police officers who are just trying to get a maniac off the roads.)