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Crackdown on distracted driving in New York

Staff writer |
A statewide crackdown on distracted driving, a part of April's designation as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, is about to start.

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From April 10 to April 15, Troopers in marked and unmarked vehicles will aggressively ticket drivers using handheld devices —like smartphones while behind the wheel.

"Too many times we have seen the heartbreaking consequences of distracted driving, and with this crackdown we are once again sending the message that making calls or texting behind the wheel will not be tolerated in New York," Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said.

"I urge all drivers to put the device down and concentrate on the road."

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.

Governor Cuomo signed into law in 2013 some of the most stringent penalties in the nation.

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.

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