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HEADS UP, text-flinging drivers! A cop in a huge SUV is snooping on you

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New York's finest have bought a fleet of big SUVs that will allow them to look down into other driver's vehicles and catch commuters texting while driving.

The 32 monster gas-burners purchased by the state police are dubbed Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) and are cruising the streets of the state unmarked so that message-flinging drivers can be ticketed. The vehicles are painted "mousy grey" and conceal lights that are fired up to pull over motorists.

"You can see how oblivious they are to this vehicle," Trooper Clayton Howell told the Associated Press, who went out for a ride in one of the, er, stealth SUVs. "I'm right next to them, and they have no idea."

That said, on the ride none of the tickets issued by the police appear to be for texting while driving. The cops pulled people over for making calls, fiddling with their GPS or driving while wearing headphones.

The City of New York has launched a big crackdown on texting and driving, issuing 5,553 tickets for texting while driving this summer, compared to 924 in the same period last year. It has become the first state to reclassify parking lots and highway rest areas as "texting zones," even putting up highway signs telling people how far they have to travel before they can stop and text.

The dangers of texting while driving are undeniable, and most US states now ban the practice. Here at Vulture West we can report California cops are just as keen as their East Coast brethren at handing out tickets, but Silicon Valley's drivers show little sign of stopping the practice. ®

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