Texting and driving is a real problem that causes thousands of car accidents every year and has tragically cost people their very lives. In response to this public safety concern, some state and local governments are coming up with some creative solutions beyond upping the legal penalty to doing it and repeatedly telling everyone “DON”T TEXT AND DRIVE”. New Jersey recently passed a law that would allow police to search through drivers’ cell phones at the scene of an accident which seems destined to be fought all the way to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, New York is taking a more interesting approach. The New York State Police are investing in police vehicles where the cabin is elevated well above that of a normal car so police can see if other drivers have phones in their laps.
New York State also recently unveiled some new highway signs. They are rebranding existing park and ride stops and rest areas on their public highways as places where you can pull over and safely text people. This is kind of a brilliant idea when you think about it. When driving long distances seeing a sign that a rest area is coming up provides one with a level of psychological satisfaction. You know that in a few miles you can have access to something to eat and bathroom facilities. Governor Andrew Cuomo is hoping that same principle will apply to motorists who are tempted to text on the road. Best of all is that it costs the state very little money to make a few new highway signs. Better yet all of the rest areas on the Thruway already have free wi-fi so you don’t even have to use up your precious data if you want the internet at a rest area. This is an incredibly simple, cheap, and creative solution to solving a very real problem our society faces.
Text stops, not rest stops will soon dominate New York highways.