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New York police crack down on texting and driving

Drivers in Poughkeepsie and greater New York may bemoan the seemingly ubiquitous presence of cell phones. The convenience and broad array of functions offered by smartphones make them irresistible to many consumers. In fact, many users may have difficulty putting them down, even when they get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Yet New York lawmakers are aware of the dangers posed by drivers who text or use their cellphones while driving. The practice is no longer permitted under state law, and offenders who are caught may find themselves slapped with a driving citation.

The penalties for texting while driving may include fines and license points. A first offense could result in a maximum fine of $150, but that amount can increase to $500 for a third offense. Driving points and fines are no laughing matter, so anyone facing this type of traffic citation might want to explore all of their options with a criminal defense attorney that handles traffic citations.

Another change will go into effect in November 2014. The penalty applies to young drivers, such as those with a learner’s permit or a junior license. If caught texting while driving, such young offenders could have their driving privileges suspended for four months on the first offense, and as long as a year on the second offense.

Notably, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced an enforcement push called Operation Hang Up. The effort involved extra patrols on local highways and streets. State troopers patrolled for offenders in marked as well as unmarked patrol cars. Some troopers were even assigned sport utility vehicles so that they could see into other cars.

Source: Poughkeepsie Journal, “Police to begin cellphone crackdown today,” Jon Campbell, April 10, 2014