Texting-while-driving penalty increases

June 2, 2013 9:22:26 AM PDT
When you look at the statistics, the numbers are staggering.

In 2011, distracted driving caused far more crashes than drunk driving.

The governor is hoping stiffer penalties will curb what he calls a chronic problem.

A family was ripped apart.

The crash happened two years ago, but Evan Lieberman's father replays it in his mind like it was yesterday.

"We saw texting the whole time he was in the car," Ben Lieberman, the victim's father said.

Through their own investigation, Ben and Debbie Lieberman believe the driver of the car their son was riding in was distracted by his cell phone.

"A police officer can pull somebody over and ask for a breathalyzer test and have you walk a straight line and have you touch your fingers to your nose, it doesn't exist right now for texting," Ben Lieberman said.

The Lieberman's support Governor Cuomo's new law that went into effect Saturday.

It increases the penalties for distracted driving from three points to five points.

"Five points is a serious offense. 11 points over 18 months and your license is suspended," Governor Cuomo said.

And that's not all, if you're a new driver with a junior or probationary license and you're caught texting-while-driving, your license will be suspended for 60 days.

"The issue of texting-while-driving is a chronic problem in society," Cuomo said.

We hit the streets of New York to ask drivers about the new law and most agree it's a good idea.

"I don't even get on my phone while driving. You can cause an accident or hurt somebody. It's not right," a driver said.

"I let it ring. It sits right here in my cup holder. I let mine ring, and I call it back," another driver said.

Starting this weekend and lasting through the summer, state troopers will be increasing checkpoints to crackdown on distracted driving.