New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that 298 new signs would be installed along the New York State Thruway and along several other state highways. As a part of the state’s efforts to curb texting and driving, already existing Park-n-Ride facilities, rest stops, and parking areas along the highways will now also serve as “texting zones.” The new signs will alert drivers of the nearest texting zone, reminding them to wait to send or answer a text message.
There have already been critics of the initiative, whose main argument is that the signs are a waste of money. They argue that the signs are redundant, because they alert drivers to rest areas for which there are already signs. I think these critics have clearly missed the point of the initiative. The signs serve as a visual reminder that texting and driving is not only illegal, it’s stupid–why risk it when you can pull over in a couple of minutes?
The new initiative sends a very direct message (although perhaps not as direct as the flashing “If you get caught texting and driving, you’ll get 5 points on your license” sign that I saw on the Thruway over the weekend). It certainly won’t stop all of the offending drivers, but like the old marketing concept of the “Rule of Seven,” seeing this message repeatedly could actually get through to some, especially when combined with other efforts. I imagine that if critics of the initiative had a loved one killed by a distracted driver, then they would be more appreciative of the governor’s efforts to bring the “Texting Can Wait” message to the public in as many ways as possible.
If all else fails, maybe a ticket will work–Cuomo also announced a 365% increases in tickets for texting and driving offenses during summer 2013 (compared to summer 2012).
Locations of the texting zones can be found here.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).