ALBANY -- More than 15,000 tickets were issued during a five-day period to crack down on distracted driving, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday.
The campaign, which ran from Apr. 6 through Apr. 10 as part of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, was aimed at those who use electronic devices while driving.
"Distracted driving too often leads to avoidable tragedies, which is why this administration has zero tolerance for this illegal and dangerous behavior," Cuomo said in a statement.
This year’s campaign resulted in roughly 3,000 less tickets than last year, when 18,000 tickets were issued.
Over the course of the campaign, state troopers issued 15,104 tickets, with 2,005 for distracted driving, 4,487 for speed, 148 for violating the move-over law and 596 for seat-belt violations. Additionally, 206 individuals were arrested for DWI.
The campaign was funded by the governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and was carried out by state troopers in both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles.
“Distracted driving is just as dangerous as speeding or impaired driving, and is a leading cause of motor vehicle crashes,” George Beach, superintendent for State Police, said in a statement.
The largest number of tickets issued during the crackdown period were on the state Thruway and in upper Hudson Valley, with 699 tickets issued for distracted driving in region.
The Finger Lakes region also boasted a large number of total ticket violations with 1,645 tickets issued. A total of 184 tickets were for distracted driving, 466 for speeding, 107 seatbelt violations, 6 violations of the move over law and 19 DWI arrests.
Not far behind was the lower Hudson Valley with 1,244 tickets.
In the Southern Tier, a total of 891 tickets were issued.
In recent years, New York has bolstered its punishments for distracted driving.
Drivers caught either talking on their cellphones or texting get five points on their licenses and a maximum fine of $200 for the first offense.
Young drivers under 21 with junior licenses who are charged can lose their license or permit for 120 days.
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