816 Tickets Issued to Motorists for Illegally Using a Hand-Held Device
Albany, NY (December 1, 2011)
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Police issued 816 tickets for texting-while-driving violations over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Approximately 330 of the tickets were issued as a direct result of "Operation Hang-Up," an enhanced enforcement campaign that was conducted from November 23-27. The additional tickets were issued by State Police conducting normal patrol operations.
From January to June, a monthly average of 429 tickets were issued to motorists for using a handheld electronic device while driving. Since the new law was signed in July, at least 1,000 tickets have been issued each month.
"The more than 800 tickets issued in just five days further demonstrates the need for these stricter laws which focus on drivers who put others at risk by illegally using a hand-held device," Governor Cuomo said. "I thank the State Police and local law enforcement agencies for cracking down on distracted driving during the holiday weekend to help protect New Yorkers and keep our highways safe."
The Governor's Traffic Safety Committee funded "Operation Hang-Up" through a Distracted Driving Enforcement Grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The grant enabled the State Police to focus patrol resources on the issue of distracted driving and supplemented their conventional traffic safety and enforcement efforts. Similar enhanced enforcement periods will be conducted in the future.
Joseph A. D'Amico, Superintendent of the New York State Police, said, "During this enhanced enforcement period, troopers ticketed drivers who ignored this new law and endangered their fellow motorists by using a mobile device while driving. We will continue to enforce the law and work to reduce distracted driving to ensure New York's highways and citizens are safe."
Barbara Fiala, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, said, "Operation Hang-Up is designed to send a clear message to drivers that New York State will not tolerate distracted driving that places other motorists in danger. Using a hand-held device while operating a motor vehicle is illegal, and through future enforcement campaigns we will continue to make sure our roadways are safe for all New Yorkers."
Governor Cuomo signed a new law to strengthen enforcement of texting-while-driving violations in July. The law makes using a handheld electronic device for activities such as texting while driving a primary traffic offense, giving law enforcement the power to stop motorists solely for engaging in this activity. Additionally, the penalty for using a handheld device while driving has been increased from two to three points.