Operation Hang Up returns

October 22, 2009 2:50:38 PM PDT
For the second time in less than six months, NYPD officers are cracking down on drivers using cell phones without a hands-free device. The stepped up enforcement is called Operation Hang Up II.

The 24-hour crackdown started at midnight on Wednesday.

Edison Gomez didn't stand a chance. He was nailed talking on a cell phone without a hands free device. He saw the police and tried to put down the phone, but it was too late.

When I asked the Ecuadorian immigrant if he planned to fight it, he told me (a) he broke the law and (b) it's not worth losing a day in court.

Drivers caught red handed face a $130 fine. It's $200 for cab drivers.

On a typical day, the NYPD issues about 500 summonses to drivers using hand-held cell phones.

Earlier this year, a similar two day crackdown resulted in more than 16-thousand tickets.

Now police can add Luis Vazquez to the list. Officers snagged Vazquez at 57th Street and 9th Avenue.

He plans to fight it, but he says he learned a costly lesson.

"It's a lot of money. The phone was just in my hand. The guy said no matter what you had the phone in your hand. I didn't know that," Vazquez said.

For drivers who feel it's useless, officers point to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration saying at least a quarter of all car crashes were related to distracted drivers, many on cell phones.

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