It’s no secret that cell-phoning and texting while driving cause many car accidents in Syracuse, New York (and elsewhere). Just read any newspaper; many Syracuse and Central New York auto crash injuries are caused by cell-phone use and texting. But would an aggressive cell-phone driver crackdown by police help cure Syracuse drivers’ bad habits?
We’ll soon find out. U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Gov. David Paterson, speaking at Syracuse University campus, announced that Syracuse will receive a $300,000 grant for cracking down on distracted drivers using cell phones. With this grant money, police will aggressively seek out and ticket hand-held cell-phone users. If they are seen with a cell phone in one hand, they’ll get a ticket in the other! The grant will pay for local law enforcement agents to work overtime, targeting distracted drivers. The money will also be used for a paid advertising campaign on radio, TV and in print ads.
This distracted-driver crackdown program is modeled on past programs to curb drunk driving and to convince people to wear seat belts, Those campaigns worked; they resulted in fewer drunk drivers and greater seatbelt use.
Will this campaign also produce results? When I find out, I’ll tweet you the answer from by cell phone, while driving (just kidding — wouldn’t dare!).