Police officers in Georgia are doing more than patrolling to catch drivers breaking the hands-free law.
They are going undercover, changing out of blue uniforms and into bright yellow construction vests to ticket drivers who won’t put down their phones.
Hiding in plain sight, dressed in traffic-sign yellow, some holding surveying gear, even a shovel, these aren’t Cobb DOT workers.
They’re police officers.
“They’re looking for direct violations. So this can be someone texting on their phone, encountered people playing on social media, on email,” said Sydney Melton of the Cobb County Police Department.
All armed with a radio, alert waiting officers who then pull out to make the stop.
Officers from Acworth, Kennesaw and Cobb County all took part in the hands-free law operation and wrote more than 60 tickets during the three-hour operation.
But they didn’t fool everyone.
One person said: “I asked em, what are you guys working? Said survey. Come on now, not tricking me.”
For those caught, the first offense comes with a $50 fine. The fine then goes up to $100 and $150 for the second and third offenses.
If the phone is mounted on your dash or windshield that’s OK. But if it’s in your hand that’s not OK. Earbuds are legal as long as you’re wearing just one.
Cobb police say they’re seeing too many accidents, even deaths caused by distracted driving.
“So if we can do something to prevent those, we want to do that,” Melton said.
Tuesday’s operation wrapped up by noon, but they promise to be out again in another part of Cobb soon.
One driver just thinks they need to be even more discreet about it.
“I don’t use my phone, but I notice I turn around and 20 cops right there,” one person said. “A lot of people don’t notice it because they’re on their phone.”