You'll be forgiven for not realizing that it's actually illegal for NYC cab drivers to use cell phones—even hands-free—because they all do it. This morning the Times takes a look at chatty cabbies as part of an ongoing series of articles called "Driven to Distraction." Surprisingly, a reporter assigned to ride in cabs as research found that only about one third of his 20 taxi rides featured a driver using his or her cell phone. Almost all of them terminated the call when asked—except for one hack who pulled over and grumbled about a stalled engine.

Cabbies caught using cell phones (even for text messaging) can theoretically get hit by a $200 fine, but it's rarely enforced. Only 411 summonses were issued for the offense in 2008, and in the first six months of this year just 232 summonses for cellphone use were issued, or one ticket for every 517,241 cab rides during that period. Another fun fact in the article: The Taxi and Limousine Commission doesn't bother keeping track of any taxicab accidents, so it's hard to say how many are caused by cellphone-distracted drivers. But earlier this year the TLC expressed interest in cell phone blocking technology (for drivers while engaged, but not passengers).

And the online version of the Driven to Distraction series comes with an interactive game to test your driving-while-texting skills. It involves changing lanes while responding to text messages from NYTimes.com, asking you Suzy Homemaker questions such as, "What kind of pie do you want? Do you want whipped cream on that?" While the "game" is so dull it makes Orbitz beach volleyball seem like World of Warcraft, we're excited to see the Times company diversifying into baked goods, and we can't wait to, uh, aggregate some pies from their windowsill.