BOSTON (AP) — State and local police across Massachusetts have launched a crackdown on texting behind the wheel and other forms of distracted driving.

The effort by the Executive Office of Public Safety Highway Safety Division is designed to reduce the number of crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by distracted driving.

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Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has proclaimed April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

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Police are conducting a series of special patrols for the rest of the month designed to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while texting, dialing or reading text messages on a hand-held device. Police will deploy the patrols in high-risk areas.

Massachusetts law prohibits texting while driving. Fines can go as high as $500.

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