Thinking about picking up your phone while you drive? Think twice.

WE have either been guilty of it at some point, or we have had to seriously resist the urge to do it while driving: getting distracted using a smartphone. In an effort to curb distracted driving, Governor Cuomo announced New York is taking part in the national "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." campaign. State and local police are increasing patrols for distracted driving now through Monday, April 12th. The goal of the campaign is not only to enforce distracted driving laws but also to build awareness of the dangers of distracted driving with New York drivers.

The Governor's office says During a similar campaign in October, almost 3,000 tickets were given to New Yorkers for distracted driving and that fines can range from $50 to $450 with penalties that can include "suspension or revocation of license."

I see it every day and I know you do too: drivers texting on their phones. Knowing how hazardous this can be, it's maddening that people still do it. What makes it even more maddening is even if your car does not have a hands-free built-in, most phones now have built-in hands-free options to read your texts and voice-to-text. There is literally no reason to stare down at your phone while driving. Plus, besides the most important fact that your protecting drivers around you, hands-free just makes life easier while you are driving.  With all the convenience, it's hard to imagine why we actually need another crackdown on distracted driving.

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