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It’s no secret that cell-phoning and texting while driving cause many car accidents in Syracuse, New York (and elsewhere). This distracted-driver crackdown program is modeled on past programs to curb drunk driving and to convince people to wear seat belts, Those campaigns worked; they resulted in fewer drunk drivers and greater seatbelt use. Four Ways New York Auto Insurance Law Can Protect You While You Are Riding Your Bicycle: Central NY Bicycle Accident Lawyer explains.
What does SU’s Final Four Basketball Result Have To Do With This Syracuse Personal Injury Lawyer? Coasting down the tree-lined Sprain Brook Parkway outside New York City, State Trooper Imani Kirkland scans his eyes from driver to driver, on the prowl for people violating the state’s ban on using cell phones behind the wheel.
Within a moment, Kirkland triggers a switch and the red and blue lights of his unmarked police SUV illuminate. The driver throws his hands up in exasperation, hurriedly tossing his cell phone to the passenger seat. New York is one of 11 states that bans the use of hand-held phones in cars for all drivers, but that doesn't mean people always cooperate.
New York State Trooper Imani Kirkland calls in a license plate while enforcing the cell phone ban on the Sprain Brook Parkway.
New York issued 30,166 tickets for texting while driving in 2012, a 234% increase from the previous year. In addition to harsher penalties, New York State Troopers are now using CITE -- Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement -- vehicles. Kirkland said he feels that the effort to combat cell phone use while driving is still vastly underfunded. Nine in 10 Americans now grasp that talking on the phone while driving poses a substantial danger, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

According to the NHTSA, using a cell phone while driving multiplies the risk of crashing by a factor of four, effectively making the practice as dangerous as driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 -- the legal limit under drunk driving laws.
TweetNew York’s Senate has approved a ban on text messaging for all drivers, in a vote that was long in coming for a state that was one of the pioneers of cell phone safety behind the wheel. The texting legislation had been in limbo due to the state Senate’s long power struggle, resolved in recent days. Under the bill, banned activities related to handheld electronic devices include reading or sending text messages, sending or receiving images, surfing the Net and playing video games.
Because of the years-long inaction on text messaging, counties across New York State had enacted or considered texting bans of their own. Ironically, the successful texting and driving legislation was pushed through by Assembly transportation chief David Gantt, D-Rochester, who has been widely blamed for playing politics with the safety issue. New York has enforced a statewide ban on drivers’ use of handheld cell phones since 2001. The attempt to conceal his phone is in vain, as are his desperate arguments that the call was for work. As a two-hour ride in his vehicle on a recent afternoon made clear, his is a target-rich environment. From 2005 to 2011, there has been an approximately 143% increase in cell phone-related car crashes in New York state, according to the governor’s office.
Cuomo increased the penalties for using cell phones while driving from three to five points against the driver’s record. These black SUVs are raised, enabling state troopers to peer down into other cars to spot cell phones. Many times, he said, he's pulled over a driver he assumes is drunk based on swerving and erratic driving -- only to find that they're sober, and simply distracted by their phone.

The state should prioritize the campaign to the level of the anti-drunk driving campaign in the late 1980s and 1990s, he said.
Yet seven out of 10 report that they themselves talk on the phone while driving, and a third admit to reading texts and emails while behind the wheel. The statewide prohibition will supersede these regional New York laws against texting and driving. Investigators found that the driver was text messaging just before the girls’ SUV collided with a truck. Even as many drivers now understand that phone use while behind the wheel is dangerous, they feel powerless to resist in the face of work and social pressures that demand connectivity.
In 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, 3,331 people were killed in automobile accidents involving a distracted driver, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. The CITE cars are also unmarked, so police can prowl the roads without revealing their identity.
Reactions ranged from resentment to resignation, although some drivers offered bizarre explanations for their phone use.
It lost its exclusive status in February 2011 when Verizon Wireless, the nation's top wireless carrier, started selling the iPhone. Pataki signed an executive order that banned unmarked police cars to combat a recent wave of police impersonations. The grant will pay for local law enforcement agents to work overtime, targeting distracted drivers.

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