Federal Gov’t Funding Police Spotters on Overpasses in Two States

By Susan Jones | October 17, 2012 | 6:07am EDT

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Thanks to a cash infusion from the Obama administration, motorists in Connecticut and Massachusetts may see police spotters on overpasses, looking for people who are texting while driving.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that those two states are each getting $275,000 grants "to help them plan and conduct high-visibility anti-texting enforcement programs."

The goal is to train police officers on better methods for spotting drivers who are texting.

LaHood noted that it's more difficult to detect drivers who are texting than it is to find those who are talking on their hand-held cell phones while driving.

"In order to more accurately identify and effectively stop the dangerous practice of texting behind the wheel, the demonstration grants announced today call for Connecticut and Massachusetts to develop anti-texting enforcement protocols and techniques such as using stationary patrols, spotters on overpasses on elevated roadways, and roving patrols," LaHood said in his FastLane blog on Tuesday.

"I look forward to seeing the results of the new enforcement programs announced today as we work to put an end to this deadly behavior."

DOT says 39 states, including Conn. and Mass., have passed laws specifically banning texting while driving, and ten states ban the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.

Connecticut and Massachusetts will test various surveillance methods in four successive waves of "high-visibility enforcement activities" over a 24-month period.

DOT said the results will be shared with other states facing the same challenges so they can learn from Connecticut's and Massachusetts’ experiences.

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