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NYPD Cracks Down, Again, On Drivers With Cells

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- The NYPD launched another crackdown on the use of hand held cell phones behind the wheel.
The enforcement began at midnight Tuesday.

This was the third crackdown in the last year and a half. The last time, officers pulled over more than 6,000 drivers within the 24-hour period and slapped each of those drivers with $130 fines. They also got a lecture from a police officer.

"Having one hand not on the wheel at any given time is dangerous. Everybody does it but in this case, it's against the law," said Eric Chaffer of th eNYPD.

The facts are there to support the lecture. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report found that at least a quarter of all car crashes were caused by distracted drivers, many using cell phones. Last year more than 995 deaths and 24,000 accidents were blamed on cell phone use.  Of those drivers involved in fatal crashes who were distracted, 30 to 39-year-olds were the most likely to have been using cell phones.

Despite the statistics, many of us are often guilty and in the last few crackdowns, many were unrepentant.

"I was on the way to my job site. I was kind of lost so I called my boss over at the site and they caught me. They're just doing their job like I am trying to do mine," said driver Mike Buanarobo.

"Had I known about the crackdown and had I seen my kids' school calling, I would have picked up the phone regardless of the crackdown," one woman said.

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