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State Police Cracking Down on Distracted Driving

An unmarked police car, a woman talking on her cell phone, and a ticket.  It's one of over a thousand distracted driving tickets issued in Broome County this year. 

But starting this month, the state government has dramatically increased the fines and penalties for distracted driving.

Offenders will now get up to a $400 fine, and up to five points on their driving record.

And the reason is safety. Officers say one in five accidents is caused by or related to distracted driving.

"The goal is to reduce the number of accidents.  Second goal is to make the highway safer for everybody.  And the third one is to get the message out that police are enforcing the laws," said Captain Eric Janis of New York State Police.

And to achieve those goals, the state has increased funding for the distracted driving campaign across the state.  There will be up to five additional patrols every week into September.

And how do the officers spot a distracted driver?

"Cars swerving, not staying in their lane, or it doesn't go when the light turns green," said Captain Janis.

Officers anticipate their unmarked cars will help them find more violators.  So next time you buckle up, remember to put down your phone.

Samantha McDonald, Fox 40 HD News.

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