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NY troopers using unmarked SUVs to peer in on and nab texting drivers

NY troopers using unmarked SUVs to peer in on and nab texting drivers

New York has provided its state police 32 tall unmarked sports utility vehicles so they can more easily peer in on motorists who might be texting while driving.

From the Associated Press/News 12 Hudson Valley:

Even for a state trooper, it’s not easy to spot drivers who are texting. Their smartphones are down on their laps, not at their ears. And they’re probably not moving their lips.

That’s why New York has given state police 32 tall, unmarked SUVs to better peer down at drivers’ hands, part of one of the nation’s most aggressive attacks on texting while driving that also includes steeper penalties and dozens of highway “Texting Zones,” where motorists can pull over to use their devices.

“Look at that,” Trooper Clayton Howell says, pulling alongside a black BMW while patrolling the highways north of New York City. “This guy’s looking down. I can see his thumb on the phone. I think we got him.”

After a quick wail of the siren and a flash of the tucked-away flashers, an accountant from the suburbs is pulled over and politely given a ticket.

They’re called Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles, and they apparently come in different colors “so they blend in with traffic,” according to CBS News NY.

As we covered previously, New York recently implemented “texting zones” along many of the state’s major roadways – giant blue text stop road signs with messages like “it can wait.”  It’s all part of the state’s crackdown against use of a hand-held mobile telephone or texting while driving, with published fines that range from $50 to $400 depending upon whether or not it’s a repeat offense.

And apparently it’s not just texting that could get you nabbed by a peering law enforcement authority, according to the AP/News12 Hudson Valley.

The accountant who was ticketed, Chris Pecchia, of Montrose, told Howell he hadn’t been texting but rather was looking at a map displayed on his phone. He was cited anyway, for driving while using a portable electronic device.

“His story’s believable, but even a GPS has to be hands-free,” Howell said.

Pecchia said afterward: “I can’t look at a map? What’s the difference between looking at a paper map and looking at a map on the phone?”

Still, he said, he understood why the trooper pulled him over. He said he would never text while driving and has forbidden his 17-year-old daughter from doing so.

So the next time you’re driving the highways in New York state, don’t be alarmed if a random SUV swings around your car and starts peering in on you.  It just might be the texting police. Literally.


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legacyrepublican | November 26, 2013 at 8:24 am

Safe sex at school, safe hex when surfing, and now safe text while driving.

Now can they start teaching safe voting so we don’t get this sick monsters in office who are robbing us blind!

so while a driver is looking at a phone a trooper is looking at a driver looking at a phone while driving a top heavy vehicle.
while going down the road a trooper is dealing with radios also.
which ones the distracted driver?
which one gets a free pass?

It has nothing to do with safety, ny is so badly broke they need money any way they can get it. Right now it’s all the rage to just write tickets regardless you have broken any laws, especially parking tickets, but not just parking tickets. I’ve gotten a ticket for obeying a police officer. Parking near a handicap spot. Not obeying unposted regulations. It’s just a machine at this point and the cops are just thugs going around robbing people

So it is prohibited for me to look at my phone, and this law is being enforced by a guy carrying a pager, a cell phone, talking on a two way radio, with a laptop bolted to his transmission tunnel while he keeps one eye on the readout of his radar gun and the other on the video display that shows him what is going on in the cars next to him?

    TugboatPhil in reply to divemedic. | November 26, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Exactly! I wish I could get the revenue generated from every time I saw a State Trooper holding a phone next to their head while driving down the highway.

    Not A Member of Any Organized Political in reply to divemedic. | November 26, 2013 at 10:27 am

    also with a couple of LIVE, Loaded guns sitting in their lap too……

    Dumb is as Dumb legislation passes.

What about all those cool computers built into the dash board?

I think one would be wiser just to avoid NY as much as possible…

Don’t text and drive. Don’t adjust your makeup and drive. Don’t eat and drive. Don’t get distracted and drive. Yeah, that’s the principle. This campaign is part of the total cost of education, which is exceedingly expensive with a remarkably poor return.

While I am increasingly exasperated by the nanny state mentality, police looking for people texting and driving is not a big deal. When driving a 2000 lb. vehicle at 65 mph., paying attention is not too much to ask (a vehicle will travel almost 100 ft. in one second at 65 mph.) Driving a car is not a right.

    Karen Sacandy in reply to Jazzizhep. | November 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    You had me until you wrote “Driving a car is not a right.”

    As far as I’m concerned, driving is an unalienable right.

      Jazzizhep in reply to Karen Sacandy. | November 26, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      Then, at the very least, you need to look up the definition of unalienable right. Or you truly believe we are endowed by our creator to operate a car.

JackRussellTerrierist | November 26, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Texting while driving is a lot worse than eating, smoking, or sipping coffee while driving because of the amount of time required that keeps the driver’s eyes and attention off the road. It’s about the stupidest thing one can do behind the wheel and I would place the stupidity of it above a dui who was at or just over the legal limit in terms of being a menace to others. That said, yes, NY just wants the revenue. The government couldn’t care less about accidents.

This may actually be an opportunity for culling the herd, if the government would just stay out of the way. Removing really stupid people, stupid enough to text while driving, from the gene pool may not be all bad.

Teach your children well.

Now this is something I can get in back of. This practice is insidious given the dumb downed state of our youth.

Hell… I can barely eat my taco, talk on the phone and keep at least one eye on the road! (G)

Heh. I have no problem with this law. Last spring I was sitting in my truck in the parking lot at Walmart. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a car moving very slowly, so slow I didn’t pay it any mind and went back to examining the hardware I’d just bought. Then *ping*, my truck rocked the slightest bit. The slow rolling car had hit the side of my truck. The driver was apologetic, explained he was texting his son and didn’t realize he was rolling.

Anyone can get distracted while driving – I almost wrecked once slapping at a wasp in my truck – but it seems that texting brings a different sort of absorption for too many people, something I recognized immediately the first few times I tried it while driving. I quit that shit real quick and have no problem with ticketing and fining those who refuse to focus on the road instead of the phone.

It’s nice to know that they have no robberies, B&Es, rapes or murders to worry about.

Police departments do what they’re told by their political bosses. Generating revenue for the state or city is always a top priority.

You want to stop texting? Just make the first offence fine of 15 hundred dollars. That should do it?