Oswego Police Cracking Down On Distracted Drivers

OSWEGO, NY – Motorists are reminded that the month of April is National Distracted Driver Awareness month.

Members of the Oswego Police Department will be out educating and warning motorist of the danger of distracted driving.

April 10-15, law enforcement personnel will be using a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text while driving.

This effort is a part of the national U Drive U Text U Pay high-visibility enforcement campaign that combines periods of intense enforcement of anti-texting laws with advertising and media outreach to let people know about the enforcement and convince them to obey the law.

“People need to know that we are serious about stopping this deadly behavior,” said  City of Oswego Police Lieutenant Charles Searor. “Driving and texting has reached epidemic levels, and enforcement of our state texting law is part of the cure.”

Violating New York State’s texting law can be costly.

Minimum and maximum fines/surcharges

The minimum and maximum fine for violations committed on or after July 26, 2013
• first offense – the minimum fine is $50 and maximum fine is $150
• second offense committed within 18 months – the minimum fine is $50 and the maximum fine is $200
• third or subsequent offense committed within 18 months – the minimum fine is $50 and the maximum fine is $400

The surcharge for these violations can be up to $93.

Driver violation points

For offenses committed on or after June 1, 2013, this violation carries five driver violation points
Penalties for probationary and junior drivers with a Class DJ or MJ driver license or learner permit.

The first conviction of a cell phone use or texting violation will result in a suspension of the driver license or permit for 60 days.

A second conviction within six months will result in:
• a revocation of at least 6 months of a probationary license, or
• a revocation of at least 60 days for a Class DJ or MJ driver license or learner permit

In 2012, there were 3,328 people killed and 421,000 injured nationwide in distraction-affected crashes.

The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute reports that a quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive, and 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.

“When you text while driving, you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. That puts everyone else’s lives in danger, and no one has the right to do that,” Lt. Searor said.

The successes of the Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaigns have proven that the combination of tough laws, targeted advertising, and high-visibility enforcement can change people’s risky traffic safety behaviors.

This strategy was implemented as part of the Phone in One Hand Ticket in the Other distraction demonstration effort in Hartford, Connecticut, and Syracuse in 2010 and 2011, and then to Delaware and Sacramento County in 2012 and 2013.

In both projects, texting (and cell phone use) declined dramatically. Based on these encouraging results, DOT has developed the U Drive U Text U Pay national campaign.

The U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign is national in scope, and States that applied and that have primary enforcement of their text messaging laws were awarded approximately $8 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation to support this and other efforts designed to fight distracted driving.

The national U Text. U Drive. U Pay enforcement blitz is also supported by an $8.5 million national advertising campaign, designed to raise awareness about the enforcement effort and remind people about the deadly consequences of driving and texting.

The Oswego City Police Department is serious about enforcing texting laws.

For more information, please visit www.distraction.gov