The 24-hour crackdown on drivers using handheld electronic devices ended last Friday at midnight with 7,529 tickets issued. That total edges out the number of tickets issued in August (7,432) but still falls short of the record 9,016 tickets written during the March sting. Is the NYPD phoning it in, or are New Yorkers getting the message?

On a typical day, the NYPD writes about 540 tickets to drivers using portable electronic devices while driving. According to City Room, last year a total 197,198 tickets were given to drivers for similar violations. The fine is $130 ($200 for cabbies), and starting November 1st, drivers can be fined $150 for text-messaging; though a ticket can only be issued as a secondary offense, when a driver gets pulled over for another violation.

Nevertheless, it looks like the NYPD is starting the text-message crackdown early; one driver told us he got ticketed for merely checking the time on his iPhone—while stopped at a red light!