(WBNG Binghamton) New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday announced that, in an effort to prevent highway tragedies during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the New York State Police will initiate special traffic enforcement efforts beginning Wednesday, November 27.
According to a news release from Cuomo's office:
The State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Joseph D’Amico, will supplement regular patrols statewide focusing on aggressive driving, impaired driving, and distracted driving. The effort will also incorporate fixed sobriety checkpoints and the “Operation Hang Up” initiative, which utilizes Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) patrol vehicles to locate drivers talking or texting on cellular telephones.
“State troopers will be out in full force this holiday weekend – manning checkpoints and making sure motorists are complying with the law to keep travelers safe,” Governor Cuomo said. “This operation will prevent needless and unnecessary accidents from occurring during one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, and ultimately help ensure that everyone reaches their destinations safely. I urge drivers to use caution and follow the law when on the road this week so that we can all celebrate the holiday safely.”
The highest traffic volumes of the year typically occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also a period when alcohol consumption is widespread. During the 2012 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers issued 4,105 speeding tickets as well as 1,082 distracted driving tickets and arrested 164 drivers for DWI.
Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said, “Last year, we saw an unfortunate rise in alcohol-related accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday period. I call on all New Yorkers to help bring this number down by designating a sober driver. As we move about the state to see our friends and family this holiday season, we need to focus on safe travel and our troopers are prepared to deal with the problems that this travel brings and their efforts will be focused on avoiding highway tragedies.”
Troopers are reminding all motorists to avoid being victims of highway emergencies by making a commitment to not use mobile phones while driving and buckling up all occupants. Travel preparation should include plenty of rest before departing, and anticipating busy roads and highways.
“Operation Hang Up” addresses the unnecessary danger of using hand-held devices while driving. This form of distracted driving is more dangerous in the heavy volume of holiday traffic. The initiative is intended to deter this hazardous trend. During the last Operation Hang-up initiative in April 2013, troopers issued more than 2,900 tickets for phone and texting violations.