State Police say they will be stepping up enforcement of cell phone use and texting while driving violations during “Operation Hang Up”, April 23-29.
“Electronic devices have become commonplace in our lives, but they have no place in the hands of a driver,” said Major Smith. “I’ve instructed our troopers to take a zero tolerance stance.”
To assist them in more effectively detecting phone users, the state police have devised a number of enforcement strategies, including use of purposefully designed enforcement vehicles that allow them to patrol inconspicuously in traffic while providing a superior vantage point to observe phone use and texting. Known as CITE (Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement) vehicles, the new stealth patrols bear no police decals, but are unmistakable as police vehicles when the emergency lights are activated.
Recent research has indicated that drivers talking on phones are four times more likely to be involved in a crash, and that the behavior of such drivers is equivalent to the behavior of drunk drivers at the threshold of the legal limit of .08 BAC. Texting increases the risk more than 23 times.
“The State Police are making distracted driving enforcement a priority, and we are changing our tactics accordingly to step up enforcement.” said Major Smith. “This is serious. Our successes and failures are measured in human lives.”
Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law, merely viewing a phone or other hand-held electronic device while driving is illegal. Violators may be fined as much as $150, be charged additional mandatory court surcharges, and be assessed three driver violation points.