Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation Communications

New York Turns Rest Stops Into 'Texting Zones' 165

Posted by Soulskill
from the good-luck-with-that dept.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a new plan to cut down on texting while driving: 'texting zones' along state highways. Existing parking areas, rest stops, and Park-n-Ride facilities will be designated as places for drivers to pull off the road and send text messages. There will be 91 locations to start, along with a few hundred signs to notify drivers. Cuomo said, "With this new effort, we are sending a clear message to drivers that there is no excuse to take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road because your text can wait until the next Texting Zone." This follows a 365% increase in tickets issued for distracted driving this summer, compared to last summer. The increase comes in part from New York state police using unmarked SUVs with "platforms higher than an average vehicle, allowing officers greater ability to see into other vehicles and detect individuals in the process of sending text messages."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New York Turns Rest Stops Into 'Texting Zones'

Comments Filter:
  • by Seumas (6865)

    Why couldn't you pull over and send text messages from a rest area, before it was named a texting area? This sounds stupid.

    • They could, they just think signs will help. Just like all those "Keep right except to pass" signs that everyone in NY ignores.

      • Hell in VA they got rid of the law that even says 'keep right'. Apparently it's peachy keen to pass people on the right too, or so I was told by the nice officer who was objecting to my flashing the slowpoke in the left lane.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          In Texas you can pass any which way you want as long as you don't leave the pavement, and if you pass on a paved shoulder, that it's not marked with "no driving on shoulder" signs or stripes. Found that out when I passed a truck doing 20 under the speed limit up the center lane on its left, and hit the car that had passed both me and the truck on the right when we both pulled back into the middle lane in front of the truck.

          • by fnj (64210)

            I passed a truck doing 20 under the speed limit up the center lane on its left, and hit the car that had passed both me and the truck on the right when we both pulled back into the middle lane in front of the truck.

            I bet the truck driver got a good laugh out of that one, two hotshots colliding with each other.

          • by ceoyoyo (59147)

            That's an issue with you and the other guy failing to shoulder check.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      In New York you could, because the law is about operating a moving vehicle. As long as you stop, you can text. Other states talk about control, which includes being outside your vehicle with the keys. The point of this is to encourage people to use rest areas for texting. It's a PR campaign, not a legal one.
      • How about the Georgia cop who has issued 800 tickets *this year* to people stopped at red lights and texting? linky [ajc.com]

        Don't expect you're quaint notion of what's 'right' to mesh with how it's applied to you.
        • by AvitarX (172628)

          In urban areas redlight texting is a real problem.

          It's not infrequent to lose 10%-20% of a greenlight to some asshole texting in front of you, the spillover costs are quite high.

          • Annoying, but not dangerous. The texting law is supposed to save lives, not as a revenue generator.

            • The texting law is supposed to save lives, not as a revenue generator.

              Whose fault is it that it works mostly as the latter?

          • As I pointed out in the Georgia story, people have been shitty at red lights since before cell phones were prevalent. Targeting texting at the red light is not going to magically solve the problem that eating breakfast, reading the newspaper, doing your makeup, fucking with the radio, talking to someone in the back seat, or any other number of activities has been causing for decades.

            (And, NO, it isn't a start to correcting the problem, so please don't waste time typing out that argument.)
          • by dgatwood (11270)

            Trying to prevent distracted driving is simply an infeasible task. The reality of the world is that drivers are becoming increasingly distracted with every passing year, from GPS navigation devices to touchscreen radios, from Amber alerts on digital traffic signs to digital advertising billboards. All the other pieces of additional visual information that we didn't encounter twenty years ago make driving less safe, but reversing that trend is a bit like draining the Atlantic Ocean with a soup spoon. Not

            • I haven't seen any statistics from countries other than the US, but given that most of Europe actually makes it 'hard' to get a drivers license, I suspect actually 'training' people might have a significant impact on people's abilities.

              The US 'driver's ed' program is on it's face absolutely ridiculous. We basically hand licenses to anyone with a pulse.
            • by Jawnn (445279)
              Bullshit. Nothing. Not, really, nothing is as distracting as carrying on a conversation via text. Dialing the phone? Nope, ten digits, max. Changing the radio? Nope one button at a time. AC? Come on... Texting involves heads-down attention to the task for extended periods (several seconds at a time, at least). Yes, we've all seen the occasional dumbass reading the paper in traffic, but even that is not quite as demanding as the non-touch typing a user must do on a smart phone.
              As someone who has been injur
        • Georgia would be one of those other states he mentioned. I only read the Slashdot summary of the article, but it did seem to imply rather strongly that the Georgia cop was not in New York.

    • by steelfood (895457)

      Maybe service? New York has a lot of rural, hilly areas where you might get a revolving half-bar of service even on Verizon or AT&T. The smaller carriers, like Sprint and T-Mobile, have no chance in these locations.

      I don't know if they've confirmed cell service for all networks in these places specifically. If not, it's going to draw the attention of lawyers all over the state.

      • I'm on Sprint in rural New York you insensitiivivvvvvvvvvvv***CARRIER LOST***

      • by Seumas (6865)

        If you don't get cell service in your car on the interstate, then you aren't texting while driving *anyway* . . . because, you know, no cell service.

        If you're installing special cell service towers in these rest stops, then that's worth mentioning (along with toilets and picnic areas), but it doesn't seem worth promoting specially by renaming the stops.

        If you're just doing this as some sort of safety effort (which seems to be the case), then renaming a rest area to a "texting area" makes about as much sense

        • by fisted (2295862)

          Rest stops. Stretch stops. Walking stops. Urination stops. Masturbation stops. Cell phone stops. Reading book stops.

          Now we only need people who a) Rest while driving, b) Stretch while driving, c) Walk while driving, d) Urinate while driving, e) Masturbate while driving, f) Use their cell phone while driving, g) Read books while driving.

          b) maybe, f) definitely.
          a,c-e,g) bullshit, you're a moron.

    • This sounds stupid.

      It sounds stupid . . . because it is stupid . . . but a lot of drivers are even more stupid . . . apparently.

    • by healyp (1260440)
      Yea, but it does sound like a really excellent way to spend millions of dollars on new road signs.
    • Indeed it does. And with only 91 of them for the entire State, there probably won't be one near when you need one anyway.
  • Thought it was silly, but the message was clear: "It can wait -- Text stop 5 miles." Which, of course, means nothing to the impatient texters.

  • by mynameiskhan (2689067) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @05:43PM (#44941759)
    Cuomo, I beg you. For God's sake... please designate a drinking zone. Please.
    • besides his office?
    • Cuomo, I beg you. For God's sake... please designate a drinking zone. Please.

      As a native Upstate New Yorker, I imagine gigantic inflatable curbs, 10-15 feet high, bordering the Thruway from Buffalo all the way to NYC. Just like bumper bowling. Put inflatable bumpers on the cars too, and let's have some fun! Every Thruway rest area would be well stocked with various types of alcohol, taxed well for the benefit of our schools. Cell phone use would not only be legal, but encouraged! I-90 and I-87 have never been so interesting.

  • I was just driving in NY State and there are tons of signs up about the anti-texting law. Some of the rest stops had free wi-fi and some didn't. I don't think this will stop stupid young people from texting, that would require them to stop being stupid young people. But for the rest of us it may well help. When texts came in from my college age kid I found it hard to ignore them. Having my wife with me to read them and respond and tell me to stop dithering and drive was a great help.

    These days when ever I d

    • When texts came in from my college age kid I found it hard to ignore them.

      Interesting. When my kid was college-age, and she texted me (rarely, since my attitude toward texting was clear), I had no trouble ignoring them - if it was a real problem, she'd call (and I'd answer), if it was trivial enough for texting (to be read anytime (for which read never)), I ignored it.

      • by raque (457836)

        I run into endless cultural problems with texting. All my kids text by preference, even important stuff. I yell - I scream - I jump up and down, they promise to use better judgement. Two weeks later they are back to it. Maybe if I just ignored them they would change, but that just isn't me.

        • I run into endless cultural problems with texting. All my kids text by preference, even important stuff. I yell - I scream - I jump up and down, they promise to use better judgement. Two weeks later they are back to it. Maybe if I just ignored them they would change, but that just isn't me.

          MY kids love to text too.

          But they know that daddy is going to ignore their texts until he feels like looking at them (I usually try for once a month or so, usually when I can't sleep).

          I get a lot fewer texts from them

      • The opposite happened in my family: I'm in my mid-30s and hate talking on the phone as I find it hard to understand what's said, so my parents quickly learned first to rely on email & instant messaging when I was in college, then to text once they had qwerty or smart-phones. *g* I primarily text just to set up plans or get/exchange information with them, but we've always been close enough that keeping in touch seemed natural/desirable on both sides; I can't imagine either of them simply pretending tha

    • Truth be told, these days I find less and less use for my cell. When I'm bringing the dog out for a walk or going shopping, I leave it at home. When I'm driving and it happens to be in the car, I let it ring out. When I sleep I leave the phone in another room. Every service has an answering machine anyway, I'll get back to you. The majority of my communication is done online through a laptop or desktop where I don't get charged real money per email. Yes some people have data plans, good for them, but even t

    • I don't think this will stop stupid young people from texting

      What about stupid old people? Will it stop them?

    • I spent twenty years driving without a cell phone. It can wait, really it can. Or, solve it yourself, You're a grown up now, you can do this.

      I'll second that. Basically nothing is important enough that it cannot wait until I'm stopped or at my destination. If it actually is literally that important, cars with sirens and flashing blue lights will be coming for me anyway.

  • Park-n-Ride facilities

    Oh great, so people on their way to work are going to miss their train/bus because the lot is full of people texting.

  • A question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sacrilicious (316896) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @06:20PM (#44942155) Homepage
    What if I get a scrap of wood, paint it to look like a cellphone, and get pulled over for texting because a policeman saw me glancing at it and poking at it while driving. Have I broken a law? What precisely or generally would I be charged with?

    Taking it further: suppose I get pulled over for bona fide texting, but in the time it takes to be pulled over I launch an app that wipes out record of my having texted, and I switch my phone for the above-mentioned painted wooden block and take the position that I was not using my cellphone... perhaps because I resent the non-coherence of a law that targets cellphone users while leaving numerous other driver distractions untouched... or perhaps because I just like seeming like I'm important... or whatever. Other than going to the trouble of checking my cell records to see if I was sending texts, or just insisting that they don't believe me, what argument does law enforcement have? What if I can point to youtube videos I've posted of me using the wooden block numerous times in traffic, for the hell of it?

    I think this would be interesting, as it would force The System to clarify whether doing ANYTHING that looked remotely like texting was illegal. That's a distinction they've been spared so far by the built-in assumption that if it looks like a cellphone then it is one... from a prosecutorial perspective, that's really an important pillar of the law in its current form.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      inattentive driving
      • So here's the point: if we have a law against "inattentive driving", then having a separate law against "inattentive driving while using a cell phone" is a total sham. It's like having a law against robbing a bank, then having another law against robbing a bank while wearing pants. If the penalties are the same, there's no point in having two laws other than political posturing, which should be called out for what it is. If the penalties are different, then it's not moot whether someone is wearing pants
        • That law was responsible for the great short-shorts heist of 1987.
        • The reason for the more specific case is so that you don't have to reprove for every single case that using a cell phone causes a distraction, by repaying the same expert witnesses to give the same expert testimony.

        • Is it a separate law? I was under the impression that the inattentive driving law was clarified to state that any time a person was using a communications device it will legally considered to be inattentive driving. In the case of you and your block of wood, that just pushes the onus back on them to prove that the block of wood really does distract you from driving. Also, if you piss them off bad enough to look up your call records, then they find that you really were using the phone and just pretending to

    • by raque (457836)

      I think you would get slapped twice. It's the cops word against yours. ASAIK IANAL the cop is automatically believed by the court. You have to disprove them. Also, simulating a crime just to distract a cop is a separate crime.

      As for the law's logic. you can't ban being distracted, you can ban specific behaviors in specific places. You can get a ticket for putting on makeup while driving. You are operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner. I knew someone it happened to. It was the cops word against her's.

      • Also, simulating a crime just to distract a cop is a separate crime.

        Out of curiosity, can you provide an authoritative citation of that?

        Regardless: the proposed activity is not simply "to distract a cop"... it's to highlight the shaky and arbitrary foundations of a poorly thought out law. I'm not saying a policeman is going to welcome that interpretation, but the prescribed defense is a whole lot more than "I was just trying to distract a cop". Was Rosa Parks just trying to make the bus late?

        • by raque (457836)

          As noted IANAL

          Regardless: the proposed activity is not simply "to distract a cop"... it's to highlight the shaky and arbitrary foundations of a poorly thought out law. I'm not saying a policeman is going to welcome that interpretation, but the prescribed defense is a whole lot more than "I was just trying to distract a cop". Was Rosa Parks just trying to make the bus late?

          This only works if Rosa Parks was texting while driving the bus. I don't know of any particular civil right to text while driving. A cop seeing you provides all of the cause needed to check your records and see if texts were sent and received in the time span in question. Fiddling with the radio, or anything else, is harder to prove. This makes a texting ban enforceable. What else do you want out of a law?

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Unless you're filming yourself with that block of wood, it's all the cop's say-so as to whether you were texting.
      • Unless you're filming yourself with that block of wood, it's all the cop's say-so as to whether you were texting.

        So if the defense asks the cop in a courtroom to distinguish between a well-painted block of wood and an actual cellphone, at distances equivalent to those on a highway, could a cop do it, even putting aside that on the highway there was the further impediment of the cars moving at high speeds? The cop can certainly claim he THOUGHT it was a cellphone, but he has no way of proving that he didn

    • Re:A question (Score:5, Interesting)

      by spasm (79260) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:00PM (#44942563) Homepage

      The Northern Territory of Australia use to have no maximum speed limit. I remember hearing an interview on the radio with the chief of polcie which went something like "Yeah, we love it, you can get from Darwin to Tennant Creek (nearly 1000km, or 600 miles for the Liberians and Americans reading) in 5 hours .. but if we see you doing 160 (100 mph) in the rain at night in an area with a lot of water buffaloes out on the road we'll pull you over and bust you for dangerous driving for your own safety".

      My point is, if you're driving down the highway playing with a painted block of wood instead of paying attention and driving, there's plenty of things the cops can bust you for other than texting. Videoing the entire process and subsequent encounter with the cops and being able to prove to the judge that you "weren't texting" isn't going to save you.

      In fact, 30 seconds googling shows in New York state the maximum fine for texting is 'only' $150, whereas the maximum fine for reckless driving is $300.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      What if I get a scrap of wood, paint it to look like a cellphone, and get pulled over for texting because a policeman saw me glancing at it and poking at it while driving. Have I broken a law? What precisely or generally would I be charged with?

      In Australia,

      Dangerous driving, wasting a police officers time and wasting the courts time.

      Courts in Oz take a very, very dim view of dumb smartarses.

    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      What if I get a scrap of wood, paint it to look like a cellphone, and get pulled over for texting because a policeman saw me glancing at it and poking at it while driving. Have I broken a law? What precisely or generally would I be charged with?

      Obstruction of justice, because you intentionally wasted their time.

    • by cHiphead (17854)

      What precisely or generally would I be charged with?

      "Look's like you have a broken tail light, sir."

      *breaks your tail light*

      That's a tazin' right there.

  • I can say that smartphone use while driving is a disease that warrants draconian measures. I can't tell you the number of times I've been run off the road recently by _teenage girls on bicycles_ staring at their iPhones, oblivious to the other bikes, cars articulated lorries (US: semis) and _trains_ they happily ride past. This is quite apart from young mothers in 4x4s, 'dudes' in WVs and bankers in Porsches driving well over 200 kmh. It needs to earn the social stigma of drunk driving and worse, and quickl
  • Is it just the "texting zone" sign? How much did someone get paid to think of this?

  • If you've never ridden a motorcycle in a full year's worth of weather then your traffic skills are nothing like as good as you think they are.
  • This follows a 365% increase in tickets issued for distracted driving this summer, compared to last summer.

    Was this campaign so politicos could claim to be "doing something", or to generate more ticket revenue? If the latter, what's the net after buying those shiny new SUV's and paying for more police hours? I think texting while driving is the height of idiocy, and should be banned, but is this campaign actually based on the severity of the problem? It'd be nice if which traffic offenses they choose to enforce most vigorously were based on some study of which caused the greatest danger. I know, I'm dreaming, re

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @06:56PM (#44942517) Homepage Journal

    You call them "texting zones", and I call them, "downloading-hentai-and-wanking-'til-I-get-blisters zones".

    Vive la difference!

  • by pongo000 (97357) on Tuesday September 24, 2013 @07:08PM (#44942615)

    Actually, the *old* police state, just catching up with technology. I can't imagine a more awful place to live, where your every move is subject to surveillance and unlawful searches. What's worse is that New Yorkers actually vote these fascists in office.

    Guess you get to lie in the bed you make after all. No sympathies here.

    • Good thing that at least 50.001% (or whatever plurality) of people wanted them in office, right? The rest can just go jump off a cliff.

  • Anyone stupid enough to text while driving has the kind of stupid that can't be fixed with a "zone".

  • Drivers caught texting while driving should lose their license for a year on the spot on the first offense, no exceptions. Such wanton disregard for public safety is inexcusable. The fact that the tickets are such a minor offense right now does practically nothing to discourage this dangerous behavior.
  • I recently bought a used car that came with tinted side and rear windows, and was pulled over last week for it in an eastern Long Island N.Y. town. The summer tourist season has just ended, meaning the local police here have lots of free time for pulling people over for any reason now. I asked the young officer why I was pulled over, he replied, "Vehicle safety check", my windows being tinted being the reason, and I was quickly left to go on my way, this time.

    Now with these 'texting zones' where police wi

  • This, from the Govenor who brought us the NY (un)Safe Act! That is, that all gun owners load only 7 cartridges in their 10 round magazines in a effort to reduce "gun violence". I'm sure all the criminals are loading just 7 rounds because being prohibited from owning a firearm just became more illegaler.

    Same Govenor who banned "assault weapons" in NY State even though the Naval Yard shooter used a 4-7 shot, plain jane Remington 870 shotgun to carry out his attack.

    Texting and cell phone use is about convenien

    • by gtall (79522)

      The shooter tried to by an AR-16 which can be converted to full auto but was stopped because of a background check. Want to bet how many more people he'd be able to kill if he had that?

  • So that people have a better reason to do that
  • So now the ones not caught while texting and driving are the ones driving the largest SUVs. Makes me feel safer. In general, every time I see a cop in an SUV I get annoyed that I'm paying for fewer cops but more fuel. There might be some logic to it in Montana or New Mexico, but not in most urban areas in the eastern US.
  • And for those of you texting while driving, no you are NOT that good a driver, and could you drive better if I took it away from you and gave it back to you as a suppository?

    "Driving is a privilege, not a right" - in the first paragraph of every state and commonwealth and the District's driver training booklet... and texting while driving IS NOT either.

    mark, who does drive better than you, as proven by the extreme sparsity

As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"

Working...