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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

As the State of New York experiences rising numbers of auto accident injury and vehicle damage insurance claims, efforts such as those of Governor Cuomo, his Traffic Safety Committee, State Police and local law enforcement to crack down on texting while driving are vitally important.

The implementation and enforcement of distracted-driving laws, which discourage texting while driving and ban handheld cellphone use are essential to the effort. However it takes a coordinated strategy combining education, personal responsibility and enforcement to maximize the results.

While New York has taken significant steps in fighting texting while driving through enforcement and education, all drivers have a responsibility to exercise good judgment in their driving activities. Texting only represents one of a laundry list of distractions. Drivers should keep in mind that navigation systems, eating and drinking as well as grooming can all serve as distractions that compromise safe driving.

In addition to the public safety concerns regarding the increase in the frequency of auto accidents, data also highlights that the insurance claims costs associated with auto accidents are becoming more expensive and this trend could impact insurance costs. The current trend lines make it even more important that we work together in order to avoid unsafe driving behaviors, enact or strengthen laws banning texting and hand-held cell phone use while driving, and expand crash avoidance technology in new cars. Together, this can make our roads safer and lower our insurance costs.

-- Kristina Baldwin is vice president of state government relations for Property Casualty Insurers Association of America in Albany


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