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Drivers Using Handheld Cell Phones – Be Warned

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The New York State Police have launched a statewide crackdown on distracted driving, as part of April’s designation as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

From today (Thursday April 12, 2018) to Monday, Troopers in marked and unmarked vehicles will aggressively ticket drivers using handheld devices—like smartphones—during Operation Hang Up.

Here is additional information on Operation Hang Up from New York State Police:

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people were killed in distraction-related crashes in the U.S. in 2016. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today released fatal traffic crash data for calendar year 2016. According to NHTSA data, which was collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2016, an increase of 5.6 percent from calendar year 2015.

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.

Operation Hang Up is a special enforcement effort to step up patrols and checkpoints. Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (unmarked) vehicles as part of the operation in order to identify motorists who are using handheld electronic devices while driving. CITE vehicles allow the Trooper to better observe distracted driving violations. These vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

During the last campaign from April 8, 2017 to April 13, 2017, State Police issued more than 2,000 tickets for distracted driving. These tickets were a combination of talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving, texting, or using an electronic device while driving.

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