Updated 09/26/2011 08:35 PM
Operation Hang Up
Talking or texting behind the wheel is likely to result in a ticket this week as police crackdown on distracted drivers. Our Lori Chung reports.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- Sudden swerving motions and eyes that dart downward.
"It's very, very easy to spot. We can see them from behind, of course. The windshield is mostly transparent," said New York State Police Safety Officer Roy Swann.
Some of the tell tale signs of cell phone use behind the wheel that police will be on the lookout for this week.
"We were getting a lot of complaints about people using their cell phones while driving, distracting them," said New York State Police Traffic Supervisor Sergeant Tom Ferritto.
It's called Operation Hang Up. Drivers busted texting or talking while driving face a $100 fine plus a $60 surcharge, not to mention two points on added to their license.
"We've seen people reading while driving, the next thing you know, they're off the road and they're overcorrecting or they're up on the back of a vehicle," Ferritto said. "If there's not the penalty or the threat of getting a ticket, they probably would say 'oh I'm not going to worry about it.'"
One way to avoid a ticket? Drive a car with a Bluetooth device or even a wired earpiece, anything that keeps your hands free and your eyes on the road
"I just answered the phone or I had to just answer the phone," Swann said.
Common excuses like that are not likely to work if you find yourself pulled over. And more distracted drivers may find themselves in that position since the initiative comes on the heels of a new law that makes texting and driving a primary offense, meaning you don't have to be doing anything other than using your cell phone improperly to see those flashing red lights behind you.
"If you disregard the information that's out there, you can expect to get a ticket," Ferritto said.
Operation Hang Up isn't a onetime crackdown. The effort held every spring and fall, likely until drivers get the message.