Last weekend, New York State Police executed a crackdown on distracted driving as part of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Called Operation Hang Up, the crackdown was part of a special enforcement effort to step up patrols and checkpoints targeting drivers on electronic devices. It ran from April 6 through April 10.
The proliferation of smartphones and the myriad distractions they bring have caused distracted driving tickets to rise drastically. While tickets specifically for cell phone use have been declining for years, overall distracted driving tickets — which include both using a phone without a hands-free connection and texting while driving — increased more than 900 percent from 2011 to 2016.
During the April 2016 Operation Hang Up campaign, State Police issued more than 18,000 tickets, including more than 2,000 tickets for distracted driving. Citations were given for talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device, texting, as well as for using an electronic device while driving.
Traffic volumes tend to increase as the weather warms up, which is why State Police and local law enforcement agencies chose last week to focus on distracted driving and other vehicle and traffic law infractions. According to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, 21 to 22 percent of police-reported fatal and personal injury crashes had driver inattention/distraction reported as a contributing factor. In 2015, an estimated 160 people were killed and more than 33,000 people were injured in crashes involving driver inattention/distraction in New York. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that nearly 3,500 people were killed in distracted driving crashes nationwide, and an additional 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
A distracted driving ticket applies to more than just texting behind the wheel. Any use of an electronics device, including a GPS system or handheld camera, can result in a summons of up to $200. A conviction for distracted driving means five points on your license and can also impact your auto insurance rates. If you or a loved one received a ticket for distracted driving or any other traffic offense as part of the Operation Hang Up crackdown, you need the help of a skilled attorney to help minimize the consequences. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm have extensive experience fighting most common traffic tickets in New York. Email or call 888-203-2619 for a free consultation about your case.