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Long IslandCrime

State Police: Crackdown on distracted driving this weekend

A statewide crackdown on distracted driving — including texting while driving — began Thursday and continues through Monday, State Police said.

As part of Operation Hang Up, state troopers across Long Island and other jurisdictions will be using marked and unmarked vehicles, police said.

Suffolk and Nassau police said they would participate in the initiative, part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

More than 215,000 summonses were issued statewide in 2017, including 2,116 tickets by State Police during last year’s crackdown, State Police said.

First time offenders could be fined $50 to $200; a second offense within 18 months subjects the violator to a maximum fine of as much as $250, according to state law.

Since the effort began in 2011, police said they had noticed a decline in the number of summonses for cellphone use each year as hands-free technology became more prevalent.

At the same time, the increased use of smartphones has resulted in an increase every year for summonses for texting while driving, police said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 3,450 people were killed in 2016 in crashes caused by distracted driving.

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