A group of police officers in Cobb County, Georgia went undercover this week, posing as roadside construction workers. The officers wore highlighter-yellow vests, carried tools and even donned safety helmets to top off the look. Their goal was to catchusing their phones behind the wheel.
"The phone doesn't need to be in your hand," Cobb County Officer Sydney Melton told CBS Atlanta affilate WGCL. "We want people focused one-hundred percent on the roadway."
The station reports police handed out 170 tickets within just a few hours at one intersection alone, mostly for violating Georgia's hands-free law. According to WSB-TV, the fine for a first offense starts at $50, while second and third violations go up to $100 and $150, respectively.
The state's hands-free law does not allow drivers to read, write, or send text messages, e-mails, or post on social media while on the road, but voice-to-text is allowed. The phone can not touch any part of the driver's body.
One local resident called the undercover police tactics "sneaky and clever." Another said, "No one likes to be kind of snuck up upon, but hopefully people realize safety is paramount."
In 2016, 3,450 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.