More patrols, unmarked cars to tackle texting while driving

By Kelly McCarthy

July 12, 2013 Updated Jul 12, 2013 at 6:20 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) New York State is increasing patrols and rolling out unmarked cars to stop distracted drivers.

With more state funding, Troop C in Kirkwood will be spending more time on the roads searching for those distracted drivers.

They're using unmarked cars that sit higher on the road and makes it easier for troopers to get a good look inside.

Troop C patrols seven counties and now has more state funding to make special trips to search for distracted drivers.

They typically schedule one patrol a month but that's increased to five patrols a week for this summer.

State Police say its presence on the road is to get drivers to comply with their zero tolerance policy.

"But that isn't going to happen," said Capt. Eric Janise, New York State Police. "People aren't going to comply with the law voluntarily, not everybody, and that's why we're going to be out there enforcing this."

Troop C has already issued more than 1,030 tickets to drivers talking on a cell phone this year and more than 200 tickets for texters.

"I do let them know, yes we're running a new distracted driving campaign," said Tpr. Todd Rosenkrans, New York State Police. "It's a zero tolerance campaign and they're going to be ticketed. Gotta get the point across."

The penalty for distracted driving tickets became more strict on July 1st. It increase from two points to five points on a drivers license.

Starting July 26th, the maximum fine for distracted driving tickets will go from $150 to $400.

New York State police is cruising into this crackdown with three goals in mind.

"One is to reduce the number of accidents where distracted driving is the cause," Capt. Janise said. "Second goal is to make the highways safer for everybody and the third one is to get the message out, police are enforcing these laws and are going to enforce them."

New York troopers ticketed 486 hundreds drivers for distracted driving over the 4th of July holiday weekend.

During the holiday period, state police increased the presence of marked and unmarked vehicles.

Governor Andrew Cuomo says the new CITE vehicles were part of the enforcement.

New York State saw a 143 percent increase in cellphone-related crashes between 2005 and 2011.

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