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TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. – Police agencies teamed up in Tompkins County last week to curb distracted driving. New York State Police, the Tompkins County Sheriff’s Office and the Ithaca Police Department ticketed 60 drivers on Thursday, March 28.

More than half of those tickets – 37 in total – were related to cell phone use.

According to state police, troopers handed out 10 tickets for talking on the phone while driving and 11 for texting or using an electronic device. State troopers also issued four tickets for seatbelt violations, two for criminal possession of a controlled substance, and arrested one person for driving while ability impaired by drugs.

It is against the law in New York to use a handheld phone or other electronic device while driving. Drivers are allowed to use hands-free phones and electronics that are affixed to the vehicle, such as a GPS device mounted on the dashboard. Emergency calls for police, fire or ambulance assistance are excepted from the law.

A study by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research at SUNY Albany found 160 people were killed and more than 33,000 injured in crashes involving “driver inattention/distraction” in New York in 2015.

Tickets for first-time offenders caught talking or texting carry fines of $50 to $200 and five driver violation points.

Devon Magliozzi

Devon Magliozzi is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at dmagliozzi@ithacavoice.com or 607-391-0328.