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Long IslandTransportationTraffic

Tickets issued for texting while driving increase 35% across state, governor's office says

Tickets issued to motorists accused of texting while

Tickets issued to motorists accused of texting while driving have increased 35 percent across the state from 2013 to 2014, state officials said. Photo Credit: Newsday, 2011 / Thomas A. Ferrara

Tickets issued to motorists accused of texting while driving have increased 35 percent across the state from 2013 to 2014, state officials said.

Tickets increased to 75,353 in 2014 from 55,673 in 2013 statewide, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Monday in a news release.

"This reckless behavior endangers everyone on the road and has resulted in far too much needless tragedy," said Cuomo in a written statement. "I thank law enforcement agencies across the state for their continued vigilance and for making it crystal clear that texting while driving will not be tolerated in New York."

In Nassau County, tickets for texting while driving increased slightly to 1,458 tickets in 2014 from 1,448 in 2013. In Suffolk County, such tickets issued increased to 2,658 in 2014 from 2,437 in 2013, a spokeswoman from Cuomo's office said.

The largest increase was in New York City, where tickets increased 50 percent to 47,914 in 2014 from 31,835 in 2013.

In 2011 -- the year the state first enacted new driving while texting laws -- tickets statewide have increased more than 700 percent, officials said. Only 9,015 tickets were given across the state in 2011.

Under state law, drivers caught texting while driving could face up to a $450 fine and five points on their license. Probationary and junior drivers could face a 120-day suspension for a first offense, and can lose their license for one year if a second offense is committed within six months.

The crackdown is among several initiatives that the governor initiated to reduce distracted driving. Law enforcement agencies statewide are targeting distracted drivers through special patrols, officials said.

As part of April's designation as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, state troopers in marked and unmarked vehicles plan to aggressively ticket drivers using handheld devices like smartphones while behind the wheel from last Friday to Wednesday in the so-called Operation Hang Up initiative, Cuomo announced last week.

Funding to police agencies for such initiatives is provided by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee, officials said.

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