New Rules for Texting and Driving in Effect

ALBANY (AP) -

New York state’s tougher penalties on motorists who use hand-held mobile phones while driving went into effect Saturday. Young and new drivers caught texting or using a cell phone without a hands-free device face a 120-day license suspension. A second offense will lead to a year-long suspension.

More experienced motorists will also face steeper fines for repeat offenses. Currently, drivers found to be using a hand-held phone twice within an 18-month period are fined $200. As of Saturday, the penalty will increase to $250.

The $50 fine for a first offense will remain unchanged.