Unmarked Police Vehicles: How Do You Know If It's The Real Deal?
During our 90 minute ride-along with Trooper Dan Manor in the unmarked state police SUV - known as a Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement, or CITE vehicle - it took only 20 minutes to find a violator using a cell phone while driving which netted the driver a ticket.
"When they pass by us, they don't necessarily recognize us as a troop car and additionally, the texting, you can see them moving their head up and down and you can usually see the phone in their hand while they're texting," said Manor.
Some New Yorkers are expressing concern over state police using unmarked vehicles to stop distracted drivers.
In the past, police imposters have faked traffic stops to rape women motorists.
So, how do you know when you're being pulled over by the real deal?
State police say the unmarked CITE vehicles are only used during daytime hours and stops are only made by a trooper in full uniform.
Troopers say drivers will be able to tell the vehicle is used by police because the flashing lights are in the grill, windshield and headlights.
If drivers are still not sure, police have other tips.
"If they were to pull into a well-lit parking lot, when they park there, if they want to call and check through 911, the trooper will of course be in touch with dispatch and that stop will be able to be quickly confirmed," said Lieutenant Kevin Boyea of the state police.
Police say one in five crashes can be blamed on distracted drivers who were either texting or talking on a cell phone.
Police hope the undercover enforcement and stiffer penalties will prevent tragedy on the highway.