Operation Hang Up Campaign Targets Distracted Drivers in New York

Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged the success of Operation Hang Up. During the first 12 hours of the campaign, over 150 tickets were issued to drivers for using hand-held electronic devices. The initiative began Monday, April 23 and will run through Sunday, April 29. The goal of the campaign is to prevent distracted driving in New York by targeting drivers who use their cell phones or other mobile devices while driving.

This is the second Operation Hang Up campaign in New York; the first occurred during the Thanksgiving holiday over which New York State Police issued more than 800 tickets to drivers. Governor Cuomo explained the goal of initiative, “Operation Hang Up is designed to send a strong message to motorists across New York State that driving and using a hand-held device simply do not mix.”

Operation Hang Up is funded through a Distracted Driving Enforcement Grant provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The funds allow for more police patrols to focus on identifying distracted drivers. The NHTSA attributed over 3,000 fatalities in 2011 to distracted driving.

New York passed a law last July which made the use of a mobile device for activities like texting while driving a primary offense. This gives police the right to stop motorists for the behavior even if they are not violating any other traffic laws.

So far in 2012, over 65,000 tickets have been issued to New Yorkers for using a handheld electronic device while driving. Counties with the most citations include: Kings County with 12,895, New York County with 12,022 and Queens County with 11,554.

Source: WBNG News, “Cuomo Outlines Second ‘Operation Hang Up’ Campaign to Target Distracted Drivers,” April 24, 2012.