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State lawmakers toughen texting-at-wheel law

ALBANY — The New York Assembly has passed legislation that allows police to stop and ticket motorists for texting while driving.

Under the bill, police would be able to stop drivers for that offense alone.

Using a portable electronic device while at the wheel of a moving vehicle is currently a secondary offense, which means that a person shouldn’t be pulled over solely for driving while texting. Instead, it’s tacked on to another offense like speeding.

The Senate passed the bill last month. Violators could face $150 fines and two points on their licenses.

The Assembly Rules Committee cleared it for a floor vote on Tuesday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a similar bill, calling distracted driving “a lethal activity.”