GA officers going undercover as DOT workers to catch drivers using cell phones

Published: Jul. 18, 2019 at 10:41 AM EDT
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(CNN) -- Hiding in plain sight, dressed in traffic-sign yellow, some holding surveying gear, even a shovel, these aren't Cobb County, Georgia DOT workers. They're police officers.

"They're looking for direct violations,” said Sydney Meltson with the Cobb County Police Department. “So this can be someone texting on their phone, encountered people playing on social media, on email."

All armed with a radio, they alert waiting officers who then pull out to make the stop.

Officers from Ccworth, Kennesaw and Cobb County all took part in the hands-free law operation writing plenty of tickets.

But they didn't fool everyone.

"I asked them, ‘What are you guys working? Said survey,’” said one driver. “Come on now, not tricking me."

For those caught, the first offense comes with a $50 fine, then goes up to $100 and $150 for the second and third offenses.

The law says a phone must be mounted on your dashboard or windshield. Earbuds are also legal, provided 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,” the driver said.