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As Millions Travel For The Holidays, Distracted Driving Becomes An Even Bigger Danger

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As millions hit the hectic highways for the holidays and some home cooking, they're seeing reminders to stay safe everywhere.

From electronic signs saying don't drink and drive, to billboards against distracted driving.

One mother of three from New York City said she sees people texting and driving all the time.

"I see it often… It's so unsafe and against the law," Jennifer Lordon said.

"If they catch you texting and driving it should be a more severe penalty because you're looking at the phone obviously and not the road," another person told CBS2.

The concern comes less than a week after a Monmouth County woman was convicted of vehicular manslaughter for texting and driving – plowing into a car that hit and killed 39-year-old Yuwen Wang in a crosswalk.

"The car was right in front of me so I… I hit the car," Alexandra Mansonet said.

Mansonet says she looked down for a second to adjust the defroster, but prosecutors say she was texting about dinner plans. Something seemingly so simple that ruined lives forever.

"It is quite a tragedy on all fronts, not just the victim in this case, Ms. Wang, but the defendant as well," Chris Gramiccioni, the Monmouth County Prosecutor said.

It's believed to be the first time the law – that treats a texting driver as harshly as a drunken driver – was tested in a New Jersey court.

There are 48 states that ban text messaging for all drivers.

Fourteen percent of distracted-driver crashes in 2017 were reportedly linked to cellphone usage.

With so much going on this time of year you may very well have to fight the urge to respond to a text while you're driving, but there have never been more places to pull over and send that message safely.

"I usually check now when I'm at a service station," Angelo Bonsignore said.

"Not worth it, not worth it for other people not worth it for yourself," Jennifer Lordon added.

Mansonet will spending Thanksgiving knowing she may be sentenced to ten years in prison. A wake up call for any driver who doesn't see the harm in trying to sneak a peek at the phone.

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