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Thruway cell phone crackdown to begin Monday

Thruway motorist be forewarned: starting Monday, Sept. 20, state police will be stepping up enforcement of cell-phone laws during Operation Hang Up IV.

From Monday to Thursday, troopers will be paying special attention for motorists using a cell phone without a hands-free device. Violators face a maximum fine of $100 with a mandatory $60 surcharge.

During the last "Operation Hang Up," state police in Troop T issued 816 tickets. During the entire year, 8,981 tickets were issued.

"A distracted driver is a hazard to all motorists. Members of Troop T are aware that cell phone usage is a common form of driver distraction, and they aggressively enforce this violation," said Troop T Commander Major Robert C. Meyers in a statement. "'Operation Hang Up IV'" is a concentrated enforcement effort that will reinforce to the motoring public that these violations are taken seriously and will not be tolerated."

It is also illegal to text message or surf the Internet while driving. That law carries a $150 maximum fine.""

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