Cecilia DowdApr 8, 2016, 6:10 pm

‘Operation Hang Up’ aims to put a halt to distracted driving in NY

In the 3 to 5 seconds it takes to read text message, highway driver can travel length of football field

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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and officials from New York State and both Nassau and Suffolk Counties joined together Friday to announce “Operation Hang Up” — an effort to stop distracted driving.

If you’re on the roads you likely see it every day: people texting or talking on the phone while driving.

Distracted driving is something that changed Ben Lieberman's life. He lost his son Evan after a car accident he says was caused by a teenager that was using his phone while driving.

“Evan had to endure 15 operations and an incredible amount of blood transfusions. The human body holds 5 liters of blood and Evan needed a staggering 95 transfusions,” Lieberman says. “On the 32nd day, right in front of our eyes, we lost him,” he says.

Lieberman, who lives in Chappaqua but grew up on Long Island, says the driver of the car his son was in had been using his cell phone while driving. He's pushing for legislation called "Evan's Law,” which would allow police access to a driver's cell phone following an accident.

FiOS1 News went on a ride-along with Nassau police and officer Kenneth Banner pulled over a truck after he spotted the driver texting.

Officials say on average it takes a person between three to five seconds to read a text message. When traveling on a highway in those three to five seconds, you can travel the length of a football field.

The number of accidents related to distracted driving is staggering.

National Highway Safety reports that over 3,000 fatal accidents a year are a direct result of distracted driving. Over 330,000 accidents a year where someone is injured are a result of distracted driving.

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