Friday November 16, 2012

LATHAM, N.Y. -- New York State Police report an upcoming statewide crackdown focused on cell phone and texting laws later this month. The blitz seeks to raise awareness and deterrence as state police said they have made distracted driving enforcement a top agency priority.

The next wave of "Operation Hang-Up" will run from Wednesday, Nov. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 25. Troopers across the state will conduct extra enforcement concentrated on cell phone and texting laws, using both unmarked state police vehicles and regular marked patrol cars.

To date this year, state police in Troop G reported they had issued more than 4,200 tickets for cell phone and texting violations. Penalties include fines of $100 and $150, respectively, plus an $85 surcharge and points on the violator’s driving record.

According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, using a hand-held device while driving dramatically increases the likelihood of a serious crash. Young and inexperienced drivers are most at risk, and at any given moment during daylight hours, the national safety group estimates there are over 800,000 vehicles being driven by someone using a hand-held cell phone.

-- Zeke Wright