Undercover police dress as construction workers to identify distracted drivers

Drivers in Cobb County, Georgia got a little surprise this week when construction workers turned out to be undercover cops, CBS News reports.

The helmet-wearing officers aimed to stop drivers from using smartphones behind the wheel, and wrote 170 tickets at one crossing alone in only a few hours, mostly for breaking the state’s hands-free law.

The first offense means $50 and jumps to $100 and $150 on subsequent fines, per WSB-TV.

“This is extremely important,” Cobb County Officer Sydney Melton tells CBS46. “According to NHTSA, there were over 3,000 fatal accidents in 2017 caused by distracted driving.”

“The phone mounted on your dash or windshield, that’s OK,” adds Melton. “In your hand is not OK.”

But not everyone was fooled: “I asked them, ‘What are you guys working?’ And they said, ‘Survey,'” says one driver. “Then I said, ‘Come on now, you’re not tricking me.'”

In the first year of the hands-free law, which kicked in last July, Georgia State Patrol has given tickets to nearly 25,000 people.