Ithaca Police issued 108 cell phone tickets in a week of distracted driving patrols

The Ithaca Police Department says a week of extra patrols focused on distracted driving resulted in 108 tickets for “driving while using a cell phone and driving while manipulating an electronic device violations.” More than half were on a single day, Thursday, September 14.

That one day’s patrol used an unmarked police vehicle with marked chase cars, which “resulted in officers issuing 58 tickets for using a cell phone or electronic device while driving.”

“Overall I would categorize the week-long effort as extremely successful,” said IPD sergeant Barry Banfield, “and I hope to be able to organize more details in the future and will continue the efforts with the funds granted by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.”

Acting Police Chief Pete Tyler says, “In my service as a volunteer firefighter as well as a police officer here at IPD, I have seen firsthand how something as simple as sending a quick text can lead to a deadly car crash.”

Anyone ticketed for their first offense will have the option of taking a Distracted Driving Diversion Class, allowing violators to avoid points on their license. IPD worked with the Tompkins County District Attorney’s Office to develop the program. Monthly classes are offered the first Tuesday of each month at the Tompkins County Public Library, starting this month.

Banfield added, “I hope to use our results as a strong focus in obtaining additional funding next year to battle what clearly is an epidemic in our city.”

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