With police cracking down on distracted driving through the end of the weekend, New York State Police troopers dished out more than 40 tickets on Friday in the latest detail in the area.
As part of April’s designation as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, state police announced an "Operation Hang Up" crackdown on distracted driving, which began on Thursday, April 12 and will continue through Monday, April 16.
On Friday in Somers, North Salem and Lewisboro, troopers dished out a total of 43 tickets, including 15 for motorists using cell phones, 16 for speeding, four for not wearing a seatbelt and eight drivers for various violations. The latest detail comes on the heels of a separate distracted driving detail on the Sprain Brook Parkway in northern Westchester.
Distracted driving has reached the top of the list of growing dangers on local roadways, surpassing aggressive or impaired drivers, according to a study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety this week.
The study states that 88 percent of drivers contend that distracted driving is on the rise, a 30 percent increase in just five years. The release of the report comes as several local law enforcement agencies announce their intentions to ramp up distracted driving enforcement details in April, which has been designated as “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”
In the study, 49 percent of those surveyed reported that they’ve talked on cellphones while driving, and 35 percent admitted that they’ve sent a text or email, “even though most believe it’s wrong to do while driving.” The survey also found that “nine out of 10 drivers nationwide reflect a ‘do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do’ attitude” in regards to cellphone use while driving.
It is estimated that nearly 700,000 people use a cellphone while driving in America each day. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a crash is four times as likely if a driver is distracted, whether it’s on a hands-free device or not.
In New York, distracted driving can cost repeat offenders up to $450 and can lead to a 120-day suspension of a driver’s license, and a one-year revocation for two offenses in six months.
According to state police, "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 troopers to better observe distracted driving violations. These vehicles blend in with everyday traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated."
During last year's Operation Hang Up campaign, held from April 8 through April 13, State Police troopers dished out more than 2,000 tickets to distracted drivers.
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