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Undercover enforcement begins for distracted driving crackdown

By WKTV News

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the start of a new summer crackdown by the New York State Police on distracted driving. Expect to be pulled over by unmarked SUV's if you're texting or talking on the phone while driving.

The up to $1 million effort 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 the Governor 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.

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% increase from 2011. By comparison, there were fewer than 44,000 DWI/DWAI arrests in New York State in 2012, which represents a 4% decrease from 2011.

This operation’s focus on undercover enforcement will send a strong message to motorists across New York State that driving and using a hand-held device simply do not mix.

High profile enforcement activities are also taking place in every region of the state, having begun on Saturday, June 29, 2013 and continuing through Sunday, July 7, 2013.

Enforcement activities will focus on safety restraint, distracted driving, speed details, move over law and motorcycle safety. DWI checkpoints and underage drinking enforcement will also take place statewide beginning on Thursday, July 4 through Sunday, July 7.

Funding will come from redirecting existing resources and from seized asset accounts.

In 2012, state and local law enforcement officials ticketed a total of 216,706 people for the use of a cellphone while driving, and for 2013 (as of June 1st) a total of 69,970 people had been ticketed for using a cellphone behind the wheel. A breakdown by county of those figures is below:

ONEIDA 1,450 615
ONONDAGA 3,176 1,090
CHENANGO 257 136
HERKIMER 336 130
LEWIS 147 74
MADISON 716 208

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