Press Release-04-04-2023

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Tuesday, April 4, 2023 

 

GOVERNOR’S TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES STATEWIDE DISTRACTED DRIVING ENFORCEMENT AND EDUCATION CAMPAIGN

Statewide Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign Runs April 3 through April 10

More than 65,000 Vehicle and Traffic Law Violation Tickets Issued During Last Year's Enforcement Campaign Including 2,860 tickets for Distracted Driving

 

The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) today announced that state and local law enforcement are participating in the national "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." mobilization to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. April marks Distracted Driving Awareness Month nationwide. Law enforcement throughout the state will be stepping up patrols during this initiative, which began Monday, April 3, 2023 and runs through Monday, April 10, 2023.

“The message is simple, when you’re driving, your only job is pay attention to the road and that will help ensure safety of your passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians,” New York Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner and GTSC Chair Mark J.F. Schroeder said. “New York led the way in combating distracted driving by becoming the first state in the nation to prohibit cell phone use while driving. Through this education and enforcement campaign we remind all drivers that distracted driving is 100 percent preventable.”

New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, “Each year, there are needless tragedies by someone who couldn’t put down their handheld device. When you text and drive, you are putting your life, the lives of your passengers, and the lives of other motorists at risk. Remember, your texts can wait until you find a safe place off the roadway to respond. We will continue to work with the GTSC and our law enforcement partners to educate the public about the dangers of distracted driving.”

To help educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, the GTSC will be utilizing a public service campaign this April. The campaign will be featured on social media, television, radio and Variable Message Signs on highways. Today, the GTSC invited the press to an Emergency Vehicle Operator Course in Colonie, New York to see firsthand the dangers of distracted driving.

During the 2022 campaign, law enforcement throughout the state issued 65,066 tickets for vehicle and traffic law violations, including 2,860 tickets for distracted driving. Full breakdown here:

Violation

Number of Tickets

Distracted Driving

2,860

Impaired Driving

1,405

Move Over Law

272

Seatbelt

1,713

Speeding

11,984

Other Violations

46,832

Grand Total

65,066

To help deter drivers from talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device, texting, or using an electronic device while driving, the state has set strict penalties. The penalties can range from $50 to $450 in fines, five driver violation points, and suspension or revocation of license.

According to preliminary data from the University at Albany’s Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), driver inattention/distraction was a contributing factor in 99 fatal police-reported crashes in 2022. To help prevent tragedies, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends the following for motorists:

  • If you must send or receive a text, pull over to a safe location and park your car first.
  • If you have passengers, appoint a “designated texter” to handle all your texting.
  • If you can’t resist the temptation to look at your phone, keep it in the trunk.

Combined with enforcement campaigns, GTSC coordinates various traffic safety activities throughout the year, and supports ongoing initiatives to improve pedestrian, motorcycle and bicycle safety. The GTSC also sponsors critical training for law enforcement, provides resources for teen drivers and their parents, and promotes seatbelt use statewide.

Albany County Sheriff and President of the NYS Sheriffs’ Association, Craig Apple said, “Electronic devices can do many amazing things but they also distract you while driving.  Distracted driving is a leading cause of crashes so when operating a vehicle, limit distractions and focus on driving. The Sheriffs of New York State want you to get to your destination safely so Deputies will be on the lookout for distracted drivers.”

Ossining Police Chief and President of the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police Kevin Sylvester said, “Our objective will always be to get our neighbors home safely. Law enforcement agencies across the state are united in our mission to make that happen. Help us keep our roads state by putting down your devices when driving.”

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