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Feds Stepping Up Enforcement of Distracted Driving Laws in Two Cities

The Obama administration today launched what it describes as the first
federal push for increased enforcement of distracted driving laws,
funding local police crackdowns in two northeastern cities aimed at
drivers using hand-held cell phones. 

The law enforcement boost, which begins today in Hartford,
Connecticut, and on Saturday in Syracuse, New York, is modeled after
similar federally funded projects to curb violations of seat-belt
and drunk-driving

“There is no question that high-visibility enforcement
combined with
effective public advertising works," National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration (NHTSA) chief David Strickland said in a statement on
the project. "We’ve seen the results first-hand
with national campaigns like 'Click It or Ticket' and 'Drunk Driving.
The Limit. Under Arrest'.”

Both of the pilot cities for the distracted driving crackdown are
receiving a $200,000 grant from the U.S. DOT to schedule several periods
of stepped-up enforcement throughout the year. Any driver spotted using
a hand-held cell phone in either metro area will be pulled over and
ticketed, according to the U.S. DOT.

Advertising campaigns highlighting the risk of texting or phoning
behind the wheel are also slated for broadcast in Hartford and Syracuse
this month.

The new policing push would have no effect on drivers using
earpieces with cell phones, despite recent studies showing that hands-free
phone use behind the wheel represents a risk equal to hand-held devices
and that distracted driving laws targeting only hand-held phone users
may produce scant
safety benefits

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