The New York state troopers will no longer have problems catching drivers who text while driving. Thanks to the SUVs given to them that are unmarked so that motorists will not know that they are it is a state trooper driving next to them.
The state police have purchased 32 SUVs for its program Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE). These four-wheel drives are already deployed on the road and are eyeing those who couldn’t wait to reach the “texting zones” where they are allowed to use their phones.
State trooper Clayton Howell had the Associated Press join him as he drive to spot the violators. SUVs are designed to be taller than the conventional cars so the state troopers can easily look down to other motorists.
"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."
"I'm right next to them, and they have no idea," he added.
He then sounded his siren and flashed his light signals as message to the driver to pull over. The driver, whose name was not disclosed, was given a ticket.
New York is one of the 41 states prohibiting texting while driving. Violators who have five records are faced with fines as much as $200.
State troopers on SUVs have become more efficient in catching violators. Two months after the CITE launch, they have issued 5,553 tickets already compared to 924 of last year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers texting while driving a major issue. Their current record showed that 660,000 drivers uses their devices while driving during the day including texting, making calls, and other activities. They have also recorded 3,300 deaths and 421,000 injuries due to distracted driving in 2012.