State Police announced a statewide operation this week to conduct additional enforcement of cell phone and text messaging laws.
Police will use unmarked and marked vehicles during patrols and will raise awareness about highway safety and the dangers of using cell phones while driving. Penalties for violating cell phone laws include fines of $100 and $150 along with an $85 surcharge.
Violators can also receive 2 points on their driving record for cell phone violations and 3 points for text messaging violations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year signed a bill to ban texting-while-driving and make it primary offense, meaning a driver could be ticketed specifically for the act. The state has had high-profile fatalities involving teenagers who texted while driving.
The law has led to a surge in texting-while-driving tickets.
Last year, state police issued more than 20,000 tickets for texting violations, which was a four times increase compared to about 4,569 tickets issued the prior year.