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Westchester Police To Ramp Up Fight Against Distracted Driving

State Sen. Terrence Murphy speaks at a press conference Tuesday at Kensico Dam Plaza.
State Sen. Terrence Murphy speaks at a press conference Tuesday at Kensico Dam Plaza. Photo Credit: Contributed

VALHALLA, N.Y. -- Westchester County police will be on the lookout for reckless and distracted drivers on local highways, state officials said Tuesday at a press conference in Valhalla.

“When it comes to public safety, we must take a zero tolerance approach,” said state Sen. Terrence Murphy, R-Yorktown.

Westchester County police received $2.3 million in state funding in March, Murphy said Tuesday at a media conference at Kensico Dam Plaza in Valhalla. That figure included an additional $312,000 which, he said, will be used to ramp up the fight against distracted driving.

According to Murphy, the National Safety Council estimates that one out of every four accidents involves distractions, such as talking on the phone or texting while driving.

In 2014, county police officers issued more than 15,000 summonses on patrolled parkways, Murphy said.

Two officers were struck by cars while responding to accident scenes in 2014, he said. This year, two more officers were injured in similar incidents.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, noting that “there are a number of behavioral factors that contribute to traffic accident,” said authorities hope the initiative with “reduce accidents and save lives.”

He praised Murphy for helping to obtain the funding and “for being an advocate for safety on our roadways.”

Several parkways patrolled by Westchester County Police run through the Town of Mount Pleasant, said Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi.

”Anything that could lead to safer travel for motorists on the parkways is greatly appreciated by the residents of Mt. Pleasant," Fulgenzi said.

Murphy also shepherded legislation which would direct the Department of Transportation to examine entrance ways of the passenger-only parkways in Westchester to see which are most frequently, and illegally, accessed by oversized commercial vehicles.

Once identified, DOT would install barriers to prevent accidents from happening. Murphy’s bill unanimously passed the Senate in June, but did not come to a vote in the Assembly.

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