Authorities Mounting Crackdown On Texting, Talking Behind Wheel This Week

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Drivers on area highways and parkways are being forced to put down their phones and focus on the road.

Police are cracking down on distracted drivers this week and CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian got to ride along with law enforcement officers on Thursday as they pulled over drivers.  She also spoke with one young woman who learned how a few seconds can change your life forever.

Dardashtian went cruising with State Police in an unmarked car down the Taconic State Parkway in Westchester County.

In less than five minutes, police spotted a driver texting. In less than an hour, there was yet another culprit.

In fact, dozens of people were seen zipping down the parkway while texting and talking on their phones.

Among them was one man, who claimed he was rushing to pick up his son. He said he couldn’t ignore a call from his angry wife.

“It’s more dangerous to mess up with my wife,” he said.

Amanda Kloehr is someone who knows the consequences of distracted driving all too well.

“It literally takes seconds, it happens that fast,” she said.

Four years ago, Kloehr left her military base in New Jersey to meet friends. She took her eyes off the road for a split second.

“I don’t remember if it was to send an e-mail or to text,” she said.

A tractor-trailer going around 65 mph stopped short and she slammed her car into the back of it.

“The first patrol officer on the scene of the accident got out of his car and was more than halfway to his trunk to pull the body bag when he heard me screaming,” Kloehr said. “The forklift, it saved my life, but because of the forklift, it’s what crushed my face…I lost an eye, my ankle was snapped.”

Kloehr underwent more than 20 facial reconstruction surgeries.

“I’m never gonna look the way that I used to,” she said.

But Kloehr said she has found a new purpose in life talking about her ordeal. She now tours campuses with her message.

“I choose to not let my accident define me,” she said. “Nobody should have to die for something so silly as a text message or a phone call or a GPS signal.”

Transportation officials said that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to get into an accident.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …