Younger NY Drivers Get Fewer Tickets for Texting than Speeding

By: Adam H. Rosenblum Esq.  Published: 11/4/19

younger drivers

Less than 5% of licensed drivers in New York State are aged 20 or younger, while more than a quarter are 60 years or older. Logic would dictate that since younger drivers have less driving experience they should receive a greater relative proportion of traffic tickets. However, this is not always the case in New York. Depending on the type of offense, young drivers sometimes receive an unexpectedly small proportion of some offenses.  

Young Drivers Speed More But Text Less

Drivers under 21 received almost 11% of all speeding tickets in 2018, according to the most recent DMV data. This is just slightly more than the proportion of speeding tickets issued to drivers over 60 (8.2%). This means that despite older drivers comprising almost five times as many licenses in the state as younger drivers they receive close to the same amount of speeding tickets.

speeding tickets by age group 2018

The idea that young drivers are less cautious than more experienced drivers about their speeds and the safety risk it proposes is no shock. However, its also well established that texting while driving is a serious risk as well, yet last year younger drivers were far less frequently ticketed for texting than they were for speeding. In 2018, young drivers received only 3.9% of texting tickets, well below their proportional share of licenses. Older drivers, meanwhile, received almost 6% of texting tickets. 

texting ticket by age group in NY 2018

The same is true of tickets for using a cell phone without a hands-free device: young drivers were accused of 3.4% of cell phone violations in 2018 while those over 60 made up 11.6% in 2018. The latter is slightly closer to the relative proportion of total licenses for the age group.

New York State drivers are an outlier in this trend. Nationwide data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that teens involved in deadly crashes are more likely to be using cell phones than older drivers. In fact, one analysis shows NY teens have the lowest rate of texting while driving.

Speeding, in general, is a far more common offense for all age groups and comprises almost 19% of all traffic tickets issued in New York State last year. Texting and cell phone tickets make up a little over 3% and 2% respectively. However, the data above shows that younger drivers are less proportionately inclined to text or use a cell phone while driving, compared to their willingness to speed. In addition, while older drivers are expectantly more cautious overall than their younger counterparts, it is curious that cell phone and texting use is almost as prominent an offense for them as speeding. Visit our data analysis pages for more traffic ticket and accident trends in New York State.