The current campaign began April 23 and continues through April 29, with state troopers coming down hard on any driver who risks paying attention to the their handheld device instead of their driving skills.
This is the second ‘Operation Hang Up’ conducted by New York State Troopers. During the first campaign, conducted over the Thanksgiving holiday, more than 800 drivers were cited for violating the comprehensive handheld devices ban.
Governor Andrew Cuomo told news agencies this week that the success of both campaigns means more distracted driving campaigns are likely in the future. The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee funds Operation Hang Up campaigns through a Distracted Driving Enforcement Grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The money funds the department’s specific enforcement of the state’s distracted driving laws.
The added focus on distracted driving has been extremely effective, even when there hasn’t been an active campaign. During the first quarter of 2012 New York State Troopers handed out more than 65,000 citations for distracted driving, setting a standard for what will and will not be accepted from drivers.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, distracted driving now accounts for more traffic related fatalities than driving under the influence of alcohol. The NTSB recommended that all states enact a total ban on the use of handheld devices, but New York already had one of the most comprehensive bans on distracted driving in the country. Last summer New York made it a primary offense for drivers to using handheld devices behind the wheel, empowering police to stop people they saw violating the ban and issue citations on the spot. They also raise the penalties for first time offender and subsequent offenses.