Suffolk County Police issued 1,109 summonses for cell phone use and texting while driving as part of a distracted driving initiative held the first week of August, calling the special enforcement effort a success.
The project also resulted in 1,600 other summonses being issues as well for vehicle and traffic law violations, and the arrest of 78 drivers during traffic stops.
“We are hopeful that the success of this initiative changed drivers’ behaviors regarding cell phone use while driving,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy in a press statement Monday. “By limiting the use of cell phones while driving, we can all make Suffolk County roads safer.”
Police said the goal is to change driver behavior regarding violations of the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law as it relates to using cell phones and other portable electronic devices.
Earlier this month, the NYS VTL Section 1225-D, which pertains to driving and texting, was amended to make the holding of any electronic device while driving unlawful. Previously, a motorist could only be issued a traffic ticket for driving while texting if the driver was also committing a separate moving violation.
“While this weeklong initiative has come to a conclusion, our officers will continue to aggressively enforce cell phone laws,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer in the same statement. “Distracted driving is a real danger to everyone who travels our roadways. By picking up a cell phone while driving, you are putting yourself and others at risk.”