As part of the statewide crackdown on distracted drivers, “Operation Hang Up” - a special enforcement effort that saw increased patrols and checkpoints targeting motorists using electronic devices - recently saw state police issue more than 15,000 tickets to motorists.
Although tickets for cell phone use continue to decline, tickets for texting and driving have gone up more than 900 percent in the past five years, according to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which prompted the creation of Operation Hang Up, which ran through Thursday, April 6 and Monday, April 10.
In total, state police issued a total of 15,104 tickets during the campaign, including 2,005 for distracted driving, 4,487 for speeding, 148 for drivers who failed to move over for emergency vehicles and 596 for seatbelt violations. Troopers also reported that they arrested 206 people for driving while intoxicated and investigated 129 personal injury crashes, which resulted in one fatality and 171 people injured.
In the Hudson Valley, there were 178 tickets issued for distracted driving, 401 speeding tickets, 22 DWI arrests, 42 seat belt violations, 17 motorists who were cited for failing to move over for emergency personnel, totaling 1,244 during the five-day enforcement.
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach III said that troopers used both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles as part of the operation to more easily identify motorists that were using handheld devices while they are behind the wheel.
"Traffic safety is a mission priority for our troopers, and we are out on the roads each and every day to ensure the safety of all motorists,” he said. “Distracted driving is just as dangerous as speeding or impaired driving, and is a leading cause of motor vehicle crashes. Every driver should know that we will not tolerate this behavior, and you will be ticketed if you are caught using a handheld electronic device while driving."
"We’re grateful to our state troopers and to local law enforcement for their role in making sure our roads are safe for all New Yorkers,” DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chair of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee Terri Egansaid added. “It only takes a moment of distraction to cause a crash that could prove fatal. It is simply not worth it. Wait until you get to a safe place, stop your car and then send that message or make that call."