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NY Truckers Face New Fines For Phoning

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New York has outlawed texting or talking on handheld cell phones by commercial drivers at stoplights or in traffic jams, restrictions that don't apply to other drivers.

The law that took effect Monday brings the state into line with federal regulations for interstate trucking that took effect in 2012. Violations carry fines.

All states that issue commercial driver licenses must do the same by the end of next year.

Commercial drivers can use hands-free phones, as well as two-way or CB radios, even though they require one hand to operate.

Trucking association officials say they back measures like this that promote safety.

Distracted driving was blamed in 153 fatal New York crashes last year.

The state Senate in June voted to extend the restriction to other drivers. The measure didn't move in the Assembly.

© 2013 AP

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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