The Super-Tall SUVs State Troopers Will Use to Bust You for Texting and Driving Are Just Regular-Sized Chevy Tahoes

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With apologies to original image-takers Jot Powers and Frank Kovalchek
A masterful, wholly inaccurate artist's rendering of the new SUV fleet.
Yesterday, a report by the Associated Press was everywhere, concerning the super tall, unmarked SUVs that New York State Troopers have been given in order to bust texting drivers. They're grayish in color, there are 32 of them, and they're properly known as CITE vehicles, which stands for Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement.

So, is this some nefarious plot to make sure your Thanksgiving trip upstate is as unpleasant as possible, forcing you to actually talk to your passengers? It isn't, believe it or not: the SUVs have been used to catch wanton texters since July, when Governor Andrew Cuomo announced they were part of a million-dollar effort to curb "distracted driving." Unmarked SUVs have been used by the state police since 2011. Unmarked cars have actually been used by state troopers since 1956. You just didn't notice them before, because you were too busy texting.

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The 21st Century Jay-Walker: New Jersey Town Will Start Ticketing "Twext"-ers


Should we be penalizing people like this or just accept that it's a (sometimes hilarious) side-effect of the Information  Age? The authorities in Fort Lee, New Jersey, are choosing the former.

In a recent quasi-legal move, police officers in the village have shifted their position on "twexting" (worst technological lexicon combination ever) and will begin to hit these messengers with a summons ticket if spotted. According to the police chief of the town, 23 accidents have occurred due to the twexting "epidemic," giving his force enough reason to penalize the activity all together. Except one thing: is that legal?


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Study: Texting's Popularity Didn't Surge This Year Overall

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According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, texting -- beloved, good old American texting -- is starting to be slightly less new and exciting. The average number of texts per day sent and received by Americans only increased a tiny bit this year, though it's still more than 40. (Forty! For real.) It's no surprise that teenagers are still texting their hearts out and old people still don't know how. Some relatively astonishing figures:

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Cat Greenleaf's Clothing Line Launches in Macy's

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Greenleaf on her stoop.
Our favorite stoop-talker, Cat Greenleaf, has a new venture post-Mermaid Queen glory. She wants us to stop looking at our iPhones and BlackBerrys so much, and is using fashion to spread the word.

The clothing line for her campaign LUSTBKLYN -- LUST being an acronym for "Look Up Stop Texting" -- became available starting Thursday at Macy's Herald Square, according to Greenleaf. Although the clothing has been available in smaller boutiques, this is its first appearance in a major department store, she told us. The goal is to get people off of their phones and make them more aware of their surroundings.

"I think we are not having a full human experience because we're so busy staring at a PDA screen," Greenleaf said.

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New York Democrats Want to Send Sexting Teens to a 'Reform Program'

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In a bit of news that got passed over yesterday because of some adult sexting, New York state is working on a bill that would send teens caught with naked photos to an "educational reform program" instead of it being a criminal offense. Proposed by the Democrats, the "Cyber Crime Youth Rescue Act" is meant to be more lenient, so sexting kids don't have to be charged with possessing or spreading child pornography and register as sex offenders just for exploring their bodies together with technology; New Jersey has already made similar steps.

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Sexting Not Child Porn in New Jersey, But Still a Punishable Offense

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This week, New Jersey approved a bill that says sexting teenagers aren't necessarily child pornographers, a charge they've been leveled with in the past. Instead of being branded sex offenders for life, just for passing on pics of their blooming bodies, they can take a sex-ed program and come out clean. Sounds easy and full of giggles! "We want to make sure these kids know they did something wrong," said a New Jersey assemblywoman. "However, we don't want to send them off to jail. We don't want them to have a criminal record." Hear that kids: your bodies are sacred, for you only and sort of gross.

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Texting Teens Don't Talk, Out of Touch Olds Keep Leaving Voicemails, Chaos Ensues

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The generation gap is back in a big way, according to Sunday's Washington Post, which alerts us to the startling trend of kids not talking. It's not a form of peaceful protest, it's just that they're too busy texting and emailing to bother using their mouths. Have you been to the mall lately? Eerily quiet. But if you'd think grumpy adults would like the silence, you'd be wrong. According to the newspaper, the "serious decline" of "telephone conversation" is "creating new tensions between baby boomers and millennials -- those in their teens, 20s and early 30s." Tell us about these new tensions!

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