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ITHACA, N.Y. — As part of efforts to crack down on distracted driving, the Ithaca Police Department will have extra patrols with a “zero tolerance” stance out next week.

The extra patrols will be looking out for people texting and using a phone while driving during random times next week, Acting Police Chief Pete Tyler said in a news release. The extra patrols are part of an effort by police and the District Attorney’s office to address distracted driving. Last week, they announced a new course about distracted driving for first-time offenders.

Related: Ithaca police and DA’s office take ‘hard stance’ on distracted driving; course offered for new offenders

Tyler said distracted driving is dangerous and said the initiative is important for the Ithaca community.

“I fully understand the dangers associated with texting while driving,” Tyler said in a news release. “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.  As time goes on folks are getting more and more accustomed to being able to contact their network of friends and family instantaneously via their cell phones, iPads and whatnot, especially here in Ithaca with two large colleges and their respective student populations.  These extra patrols speak to our commitment on getting ahead of the problem and enabling folks to see just how dangerous texting and talking while driving is.”

Featured image: “Texting While Driving” by Intel Free Press is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.