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State Police to Crack Down on Phone, Device Use in Westchester

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. - Drivers talking or texting on phones are as likely to be involved in a crash as drunk drivers, and the state police are primed to try to put an end to that trend.

During the week of April 23-29, which is being dubbed "Operation Hang Up," troopers will be blanketing local roadways with an eye on motorists using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.

Major Michael Kopy, troop commander of Troop K, said he has instructed troopers to take a zero tolerance stance with offenders.

"Electronic devices have become commonplace in our lives, but they have no place in the hands of a driver," Kopy said. "This is serious. Our successes and failures are measured in human lives."

Police will be utilizing several enforcement strategies to catch distracted motorists, including traveling in vehicles with no law enforcement decals, but are equipped with emergency lights.

Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, just looking at a phone or other hand-held electronic device while driving is illegal. Violators could be fined as much as $150 and be hit with three points on their license.

Last year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributed more than 3,000 deaths to distracted drivers, labeling the habit a "dangerous epidemic."

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