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State Police to crack down on drivers who text, use handheld phones

NY State Police will be cracking down on

NY State Police will be cracking down on Thanksgiving weekend drivers found texting or talking on cellphones as part of "Operation Hang Up', officials said. They will be conducting the patrols starting Wednesday and continuing through Nov. 25. (Nov. 16, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

Thanksgiving weekend drivers found texting or talking on handheld cellphones may find their goose is cooked.

Starting next Wednesday and continuing through Nov. 25, State Police units will step up patrols of drivers illegally using handheld devices as part of "Operation Hang Up," officials said.

Unmarked State Police vehicles will be used in addition to regular marked cars, according to State Police at Latham.

Drivers who use a handheld device are four times more likely to get into a crash involving injury, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Texting drivers are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash, and young drivers are most at risk, with 16 percent of all distracted driving crashes involving those under 20, according to the administration.

State Police said they expect to issue a substantial number of tickets for cellphone and texting violations during Operation Hang Up. Penalties include fines of $100 and $150, respectively, plus an $85 surcharge and two points on the violator's driving record for a cellphone violation and three points for a texting violation.

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