Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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CITE vehicles target handheld mobile device drivers

New York City drivers have seen an increased effort to reduce speeding in many parts of the city with new speed bumps installed and speed zones designated near schools or other select areas. The goal according to city officials is public safety. Drivers in violation of New York traffic law can face various penalties depending on the circumstances that can include fines, points on driving records, driver’s license suspension and more.

Another new operation on the part of New York state troopers is to crack down on the handheld use of any mobile device while driving. New York is one of only 12 states in the nation that has a law preventing any such handheld use when behind the wheel of a vehicle. Over a two-month period in the summer of 2012, New York troopers issued 924 tickets for handheld cell phone use when driving. The same period in 2013 saw 5,553 tickets issued for the same reason.

One component of the state’s focus on handheld mobile operation is the use of unmarked police sport utility vehicles. These SUVs sit high enough to allow police the opportunity to see into most vehicles, making it easier for them to identify drivers breaking the handheld ban. Referred to as Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement vehicles, there are 32 such SUVs in use currently. Together with an increased number of points and higher fines associated with a ticket for handheld phone use, the hope is to reduce such instances.

The state’s desire to keep the public safe is a positive one but does not mean that every ticket issued is actually warranted. Drivers who may receive traffic tickets for any reason and be in need of assistance with their defense may consider getting a consultation with an attorney to learn more about their rights.

Source:, “New York troopers given big SUVs to peer in on texting drivers,” November 25, 2013

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