ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Police in New York are embarking on a “statewide crackdown” on texting while driving.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that from Friday to Wednesday state troopers in marked and unmarked vehicles will “aggressively” target motorists who use handheld devices while driving.

The stepped up enforcement is timed to coincide with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Adults caught texting while driving face big fines, while young drivers can have their licenses suspended.

Police will use both marked and unmarked vehicles to ticket drivers.

“Too many times we have seen the heartbreaking consequences of distracted driving, and with this crackdown we are once again sending the message that making calls or texting behind the wheel will not be tolerated in New York,” Cuomo said in a news release Thursday.

According to national figures for 2013, more than 3,100 people were killed in crashes that involved a distracted driver.

A similar crackdown last fall resulted in State Police issuing more than 550 tickets to motorists caught using a hand-held device while driving.

At highway speed, during the time it takes to read a text message, a car can cover the length of a football field, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.

A recent AAA study of distracted driving found teens are distracted almost a quarter of the time they are behind the wheel. In vehicle video cameras show many teens looking down at a phone, the car veers off the road and in some cases crash.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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