According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, just last year alone, over 3,300 people in the United States were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers. Over 420,000 people were injured in these car accidents. With April being Distracted Driving Awareness month, New York officials are starting to crack down on distracted drivers all over the state.
Cellphone use is one of the major distractions for drivers everywhere. Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that the “Operation Hang Up” program will be in effect for a few days this month. There will be ads all over New York to help put an end to texting while driving and to enforce cellphone laws.
These ads, combined with stricter enforcement, will hopefully encourage drivers to stay safe on the roads. Young drivers in particular are being targeted. Officials hope to help them develop good driving habits that they will retain as they get older.
New York drivers should be aware of the consequences if they do choose to break these anti-distracted driving laws. First-time offenders will be fined anywhere from $50 to $150. If a driver has a second offense within 18 months, he will be facing a fine of up to $200. For third-time offenders and beyond, the fine will increase to a maximum of $400.
Young drivers as well as drivers who are new to the roadways can also face additional consequences for texting while driving. First-time offenders will have their license suspended for 120 days while second-time offenders will lose their license for a whole year.
In 2012, distracted driving played a part in 10 percent of fatal accidents. Law enforcement officials hope that by bringing attention to the dangers of distracted driving, many drivers will pay more attention on the roads and lives will be saved.
Source: CBS New York, “Crackdown On Distracted Driving Begins Around New York State,” April 10, 2014