Glenn R. Bruno, Esq.
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New York says, 'Hang up your hand-held'

New York State Police issued 3,172 tickets for texting and driving violations during the last week of April. Of those, 105 were in Dutchess County. The second Operation Hang Up was funded by Governor Cuomo's Traffic Safety Committee through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Distracted Driving Enforcement Grant. The goal is to allow state police and other law enforcement organizations focus on distracted driving traffic violations and supplement their regular enforcement efforts.

Texting while driving and talking on a hand-held device became illegal in New York in July of 2011. Penalties for texting or talking while driving were recently increased from two to three points on your driver's license and up to $150 in fines. Having a smart phone in your hand while operating a motor vehicle is reason enough for police to stop you. That means, even if you are stopped at a red light, do not look at your phone.

The NHTSA says more than 3,000 deaths last year were because of distracted drivers. Drivers talking on their phones are four times more likely to be in an accident. Not keeping both hands on the wheel and averting your eyes from the road is a tangible safety risk. In addition, many of the habitual smart phone users addicted to texting are those with the least experience driving.

Similar Operation Hang Up enforcement campaigns are expected periodically. The last one was during last year's Thanksgiving holiday. Authorities will continue to enforce the new law to cut down on the number of distracted driving accidents and violations across the state.

Source: poststarnews.com, "Governor Cuomo announces more than 3,000 tickets issued during second operation hang-up," May 7, 2012

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