Don’t be a distracted driver this Thanksgiving. In their launch of “Operation Hang Up,” New York State Police will be targeting drivers that use their cell phones or other electronic devices while driving.
According to the NYPD, approximately 60 car accidents per day are caused by drivers on their phones. Also, other studies have shown that a driver distracted by using a cell phone can be as dangerous as a drunk driver. At Mackoul & Associates, Inc., we wanted to remind all of our colleagues, clients and friends to avoid unnecessary danger and trouble this weekend by keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel. While Thanksgiving is a wonderful occasion, increased traffic and frenetic travel arrangements this weekend can cause people to drive erratically so it’s important to pay attention to the road at all times.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo fully supports the “Operation Hang Up” initiative when he says, “Over the Thanksgiving holiday we will be stepping up our enforcement measures to send a clear message to drivers: keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel […] Using a hand held device while driving is illegal and puts the lives and safety of New Yorkers on the road at risk.”
What is “Operation Hang Up”?
Funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through a Distracted Driving Enforcement Grant, “Operation Hang Up” is an initiative set forth to encourage drivers to eliminate distractions and behaviors that take their attention off of the road and unnecessarily put innocent lives at risk. As Joseph A. D’Amico, Superintendent of the New York State Police commented, “During this enhanced enforcement period, troopers will ticket those drivers who ignore this law and use a mobile or electronic device while driving.”
What is the Penalty for Distracted Driving?
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law into effect in July of 2011 that would make using a hand held device for texting or talking while the vehicle is moving a primary traffic offense and gives law enforcement the power to stop drivers solely for engaging in this activity. Penalties for using a cell phone without the use of a hands-free device has increased from two to three driver penalty points on your license and a fine of up to $150.
What Does Insurance Have to Do With This?
Car accidents are recorded on your driving record. Your driving record has the greatest impact on affecting your auto insurance rates. If you are seen as a risky driver to insure, your premium can jump as much as 40%. Save on your auto insurance by maintaining a clean driving record and ask us about other discounts for accident-free driving, good students, insuring more than one vehicle and more.
Here are 5 Safe Driving Tips from the Insurance Information Institute to help you drive safely:
- No talking or texting while driving. Pull over for emergency calls and let voice mail get calls missed while driving.
- Be aware of other distracted drivers on the road and watch for cars weaving in and out of lanes.
- Do not use your car mirrors to shave, put on makeup or comb your hair while driving.
- Avoid eating and drinking while driving. Think about what could happen if you spill hot coffee on your lap on the highway…
- Don’t take notes while driving. Pull over if you have to jot something down.
Sometimes it seems like that phone call or text just can’t wait. But, when you think about what could happen during those few seconds that you take your concentration from the road, a phone call or text just isn’t worth hurting someone, getting into a car accident, getting a ticket or points on your license.