State police to crackdown on texting while driving beginning July 4
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 5:24 pm

State police are about to begin a statewide crackdown on texting while driving.

The enforcement effort will include a component aimed at high-traffic areas at Canadian border crossings.

On July 4, troopers start a new summer crackdown on distracted driving with a $1 million effort of increased enforcement and patrols, particularly through undercover operations using unmarked state police SUVs to catch distracted drivers.

This new campaign builds on the increased penalty for distracted driving from three to five points on a driver’s license and legislation to increase license suspension and revocation periods for distracted driving on young and new drivers.

Officials believe in New York State, one in five crashes is a result of distracted driving.

The summertime effort will include a special Safety without Borders Initiative in areas adjacent to the Canadian borders to address high traffic volumes over the July 4 weekend. State police will target traffic violations such as speeding, failure to wear seat belts, impaired driving and use of hand-held electronic devices on roads in the proximity of the major international border crossings.

Undercover patrol operations have been particularly effective at identifying and ticketing instances of texting-while-driving, so this is why they will see widespread use in the new campaign, state authorities said.

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.

This strengthened enforcement push comes in advance of the Independence Day holiday, which is traditionally one of the peak travel periods of the year. The additional funding for this operation will enable more State Troopers to actively monitor roadways to enforce New York vehicle and traffic laws, not only during peak holidays but throughout the entire summer.

Last year there were over 30,000 tickets issued in New York State for texting-while-driving – a 234 percent increase from 2011.