New York Announces Summer Texting-While-Driving Crackdown on Long Island

July 18, 2013

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week detailed a summer crackdown by the New York State Police on distracted driving on Long Island.

Authorities said that in New York State, one in five crashes is a result of distracted driving. Last year there were over 30,000 tickets issued in New York State for texting-while-driving — a 234 percent increase from 2011. By comparison, there were fewer than 44,000 DWI/DWAI arrests in New York State in 2012, which represents a 4 percent decrease from 2011.

The effort, which began this past July 4th holiday weekend, will consist of increased enforcement and patrols, particularly through undercover operations using unmarked State Police SUVs to catch distracted drivers.

This new campaign builds on two major efforts initiated by Gov. Cuomo earlier this year to crack down on distracted driving — increasing the penalty for distracted driving from three to five points on a driver’s license and signing his legislation to increase license suspension and revocation periods for distracted driving on young and new drivers.

“Texting-while-driving is a dangerous practice that will not to be tolerated on New York’s roads and highways,” Cuomo said.

“Enhancing the enforcement of our laws will ensure that New York State remains a safe place for drivers this summer and beyond. There is no excuse for distracted driving, and with this increased enforcement push using undercover vehicles, New Yorkers can be sure that the State Police are watching the road, even if other drivers are not.”

This operation brings a significant increase in undercover enforcement operations on roads and highways throughout the state. Undercover patrol operations have been particularly effective at identifying and ticketing instances of texting-while-driving, and these additional unmarked patrols will have a considerable impact on the increased enforcement of vehicle and traffic regulations across the state.

State Police will use Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of the operation in order to more easily identify motorists who are texting while driving. CITE vehicles are specifically designed on higher than average platforms, allowing officers greater ability to see into other vehicles and detect individuals in the process of sending text messages.

The State Police fleet of CITE vehicles are unmarked and come in a variety of colors to ensure that they blend in with traffic on the road. They are also equipped with hidden high intensity emergency lights. The operation began over the past July 4th holiday weekend statewide. As a result of enhanced enforcement, the State Police issued 486 tickets for distracted driving that weekend alone.

Source: New York Governor’s Office

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