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Thursday, April 9, 2015

A pair of crackdowns are planned by police against bad drivers.

Beginning Friday, New York State Police will hold a statewide crackdown on distracted driving, as part of April's designation as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Troopers in marked and unmarked vehicles will aggressively ticket drivers using handheld devices—like smartphones—during "Operation Hang Up," which will run through Wednesday.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 were injured nationwide in crashes involving a distracted driver in 2013. Additionally, ten percent of all fatal accidents involved a driver who was identified as distracted at the time of the crash.

Current New York State law includes the following penalties for distracted drivers:

  • For a first offense, the minimum fine is $50 and the maximum is $200
  • A second offense in 18 months increases the maximum fine to $250
  • A third offense in 18 months results in a maximum fine of $450
  • Probationary and junior drivers face a 120-day suspension of their license for a first offense, and one year revocation of their permit or license if a second offense is committed within six months.

During the last campaign from November 26, 2014 to November 30, 2014, State Police issued more than 1,000 tickets, including more than 550 tickets for distracted driving. These tickets were a combination of talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving, texting, or using an electronic device while driving.

On Monday, the Lockport Police Department will be taking part in the annual "Operation Safe Stop," ticketing drivers that pass stopped school buses.

Ridge Road Express works closely with the police department to identify those areas where there are frequent violations, according to LPD. 

In the past four years, 35 students were struck by motorists that passed stopped school buses in New York State, while nearly 300 pedestrians are killed every year in the state, many near schools.

Both programs are funded by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

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