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State Police Launch Crackdown On Distracted Driving

Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – New York State Police are conducting a statewide crackdown on distracted driving beginning Friday and lasting through Wednesday, April 15 as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

For those five days, troopers in marked and unmarked vehicles will aggressively ticket drivers using handheld devices during Operation Hang Up.

“Driving while using a cell phone or other electronic device is a serious violation and will not be permitted in New York State. No message or call is worth another person’s life. State troopers will not hesitate to give tickets to drivers who don't heed this simple message,” said State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico.

Distracted driving offenses included talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving, texting or using an electronic device while driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 were injured nationwide in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2013. Additionally, ten percent of all fatal accidents involved a driver who was identified as distracted at the time of the crash.

Current New York State law includes the following penalties for distracted drivers:

  • For a first offense, the minimum fine is $50 and the maximum is $200
  • A second offense in 18 months increases the maximum fine to $250
  • A third offense in 18 months results in a maximum fine of $450
  • Probationary and junior drivers face a 120-day suspension of their license for a first offense, and one-year revocation of their permit or license if a second offense is committed within six months.

During 2014's Operation Hang Up campaign from Nov. 26-30, State Police issued more than 1,000 tickets, including more than 550 tickets for distracted driving.

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