, the NYPD cracked down on drivers talking on cell phones yesterday, issuing approximately 4,000 tickets by the time the evening rush hour began. According to the Post, police typically issue about 500 such tickets on a normal day. One of the unlucky thousands caught up in the dragnet was a Daily News reporter assigned to cover the ticket blitz; after getting a call from his editor, Edgar Sandoval heard "the dreaded police siren." He futilely tried to talk his way out of it by saying, "Funny story, Officer. I'm actually working on a story about this for the paper."
CBS2 also sent a reporter out to cover the story, and unlike Sandoval he intentionally tried to attract police by driving from the Upper East Side down to the Village holding a cell phone to his ear. (But no "luck.") Drivers seemed uniformly outraged by blitz. Cabdriver Alejandro Martinez told the Post he's been ticketed twice for cellphone use. "Of course people not paying attention causes accidents, but sometimes there is an emergency. The police should give a warning." Funny fact: TLC regulations forbid taxi drivers from using even hands-free cellphones while driving!
The tickets can cost each driver $120, so the city could potentially rake in at least $480,000 from the dragnet. After taking his medicine, Sandoval commiserated with other ticketed drivers, showing one his ticket, and saying, "We're in the same boat." Cellidarity? He then witnessed delivery driver Jerome Pascal get arrested for driving with a suspended license. His brother, Eugene Pascal, was visibly distraught, telling the News, "He's driving using his cell phone one second and gets arrested the next. It's unfair." The National Safety Council says cell phone use contributes to an estimated 6 percent of all crashes, and 2,600 deaths each year.