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NY troopers in big SUVs peer in on texting drivers

MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. (AP) -- New York state troopers are using a new fleet of 32 tall, unmarked SUVs as part of a crackdown on drivers sending text messages.

The high vantage point in the Chevy Tahoes helps troopers see drivers' hands, even if they're down on their laps, pushing smartphone buttons.

It's part of one of the nation's most aggressive attacks on texting while driving that also includes steeper penalties and dozens of highway "Texting Zones," where motorists can pull over to use their devices.

A study has found that a texting driver is 23 times more likely to be in a collision than those not texting.

New York this year increased the penalties for motorists caught using hand-held devices to talk or text.