FYI PSA

New York State Troopers Are Driving Around in Huge SUVs to Bust Texting Drivers

The one time a backseat driver is useful.

Here's what they look like. (Photo: CTPost)

Here’s what they look like. (Photo: CTPost)

If you’re about to embark on a road trip this week, remember the police are watching you while you look at your phone. New York state troopers are circulating in really tall and unmarked SUVs to peer down and bust drivers who are illegally texting and driving. 

The Associated Press reports that police have deployed 32 vehicles (they’re gray and have “tucked-away flashers” if you want to be on the lookout for them) as they push forward with their plan to deter drivers from using their phones. The state has outlawed drivers from basically touching their devices while driving, so they installed “Texting Zones” on the side of highways. 

If caught, people can face up to a $200 fine and have five penalty points added to their record. And the police claim they’re doing this for you by citing a recent study that claims the chance of an accident is increased 23 times if a driver takes their eyes off the road for more than five seconds.

So far, police have handed out more than 5,000 tickets in the two months they’ve tested the program. Trooper Clayton Howell told the AP that the drivers he’s busted have been so enthralled with their phones that they don’t even notice a large SUV hovering around them:

“You can see how oblivious they are to this vehicle,” Mr. Howell said as a woman holding a phone paid him no mind. “I’m right next to them, and they have no idea.”

We call dibs on the first driver selfie he photobombs.

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com