New York State Police crack down on texting while driving

Posted at: 07/04/2013 10:41 PM
Updated at: 07/04/2013 11:19 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

With it being a holiday weekend there will be a lot of people on the road.

According to Trip Advisor, thousands of people will be driving to and from their Fourth of July holiday destinations this weekend.

With that, Governor Cuomo has called for the New York State Police to crack down on texting and driving.

It's an initiative that started Thursday.

News10NBC had the chance to ride along with a state trooper as he was on the lookout for drivers using their phones.

State Trooper David Ceretto has been on the job for 10 years. He knows the dangers of using a phone in any way while driving.

On Thursday News10NBC also saw first-hand how a traffic stop for what he thought would be a simple "texting and driving stop" would turn into much more.

But first, Ceretto explains what he is up against while trying to "crack down.”

“It's hard to enforce. Everyone knows what kind of vehicles police drive, so whenever they see us in their mirrors or coming up on an intersection, they just kind of throw their phone down,” said Ceretto.

That's how the ride-a-long with Trooper David Ceretto started, with him watching from the side of the road and while driving for people using their phone.

It's not just  making calls or texting Trooper Ceretto is looking for.

“Texting is illegal, but also anything you are doing with your cell phone while driving. If you are trying to use it as a mobile iPod, or GPs unit or check your Facebook status or Internet, it's going to be illegal,” said Ceretto.

On Interstate 490 Trooper Ceretto spotted a car with tint too dark and a driver who appeared to be using his phone in some way.

The trooper smelled alcohol on the driver's breath and while giving him a field sobriety test, he noticed he had what looked like cocaine in his pants pocket.

The driver was arrested. A K-9 dog was brought in to sweep the car and other drugs and drug paraphernalia were found.

Trooper Ceretto says while this stop stemmed from the driver illegally using his phone, they are lucky it ended this way and not with an accident.

He says everyone needs to remember the serious consequences that can come with using a phone and driving.

“Taking your attention off the road, it can be as simple as traveling out of your lane, driving through a red light, obvious accidents. People just take their attention off the road and focus more on the conversation the are having,” said Ceretto.

That man who was arrested in now facing a number of charges including DWI, open container, criminal possession of a controlled substance and using an electronic device while driving.