New York State Police are targeting drivers who violate state law regarding the use of cell phones while driving. “Operation Hang-Up” is in full force this week, with State Troopers being on the lookout for drivers who think they can text and still drive safely.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown conclusively that distracted driving is at least as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. New York has had a state law prohibiting texting and driving since 2011. The law stipulates that drivers are forbidden from texting with any handheld device while hey are operating a motor vehicle. The law applies to drivers of all types of vehicles and penalties including a fine up to $150 and points added to your license.

As part of “Operation Hang-Up” New York State Police are launching special patrols in both marked police vehicles and unmarked police vehicles. They know that drivers who do text and drive often try to hide the fact they are texting, so police need to be focused on detecting these somewhat hidden activities. Unfortunately for these texting drivers, although they might be able to hide what their hands are doing they cannot hide the fact the vehicle is likely swerving or that they are driving erratically. This allows police to make a quick determination if that driver is doing something-anything-they are not supposed to be doing.

Although many states now have bans on the use of handheld devices by drivers, a good percentage of drivers admit they still do it. The NHTSA says that last year more than 3,000 drivers were killed in vehicle collisions caused by distracted driving. And just about nothing is as distracting as trying to send a text message, an email or update your Facebook status while you are trying to drive.