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From the Desk of Senator Kemp Hannon: August 28, 2009

Senator Notes New Ban on Texting While Driving

Senator Kemp Hannon announces adoption of legislation banning texting while driving. The New York State Senate recently passed a bill to make New York’s roads and highways safer by, among other provisions, banning the practice of texting and using other electronic devices while driving. The penalty for texting while driving is not to exceed $150 for the first offense. The bill awaits further action by the governor and is scheduled to take effect Nov. 1, 2009.

In addition to the texting ban, the legislation includes a number of important provisions that will make the roadways safer by implementing sensible requirements for young drivers, including requiring that new drivers over the age of 16 and under the age of 18 must wait six months after obtaining a learner’s permit to apply for a driver’s license; reducing from two to one the number of non-family passengers in a motor vehicle operated by a young driver with only a learner’s permit when not accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian; reducing from two to one the number of non-family passengers under the age of 21 in a motor vehicle operated by a holder of only a junior license; and increasing the number of hours, from 20 to 50, required driving hours as determined by a parent or guardian before a driver’s license can be applied for.
In a recent study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, statistical data reflects the following risk estimates:
For Light Vehicles or Cars
· Dialing a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 2.8 times as high as non-distracted driving
· Talking or listening to a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 1.3 times as high as non-distracted driving
· Reaching for an object such as an electronic device made the risk of crash or near-crash event 1.4 times as high as non-distracted driving
For Heavy Vehicles or Trucks
· Dialing a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 5.9 times as high as non-distracted driving
· Talking or listening to a cell phone made the risk of crash or near-crash event 1.0 times as high as non-distracted driving
· Use of, or reach for, an electronic device made the risk of crash or near-crash event 6.7 times as high as non-distracted driving
· Text messaging made the risk of crash or near-crash event 23.2 times as high as non-distracted driving
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also released a new survey finding 80 percent of motorists believe distracted driving is a “very serious threat” to their safety.
For more information about New York State and to sign up for email updates, go to Hannon’s website, www.kemphannon.com.

Health Fair Right in Your Own Backyard
Senator Kemp Hannon is sponsoring his 8th annual Health Fair and Awareness Day Thursday, Oct. 29. The event will be held at the David S. Mack Sports Complex at Hofstra University in Hempstead on the north side of Hofstra’s campus. Flu shots, various health screenings and the health information you want to know will all be available as more than 90 health providers and health specialists gather at one venue to address your every concern. Save the date on your calendar now... more details to follow.