Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that federal regulators plan a pilot project to test 'high visibility' crackdown efforts to curb cellphone use by drivers in two cities, Hartford and Syracuse, spending $200,000 in each city, while each state would contribute $100,000 more. The Transportation Department says it wants to send the message: 'Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other,' and plans on ramping up enforcement on state bans of hands-free phones by motorists, advertising the campaigns and undertaking studies to see if the efforts curb behavior and attitudes. Safety advocates say that curbing the behavior requires enforcement and education, which they say has been clearly evident in past efforts with seat belts with the 'Click It or Ticket Program' (PDF) that helped increase seat belt use to 83% nationally. 'It's time for drivers to act responsibly, put their hands on the wheel and focus on the road,' says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who last year called distracted driving an 'epidemic.'"
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