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Illinois State police take the high road over distracted drivers

East Moline police are finding new ways to crack down on distracted driving.

EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- Area police have hopped into cars once again to crack down on distracted driving, but this time, they're not in the normal black and white.

On Friday, July 12th, the District 7 Illinois State Police began a new program called "Trooper in a Truck" in cooperation with the Illinois State Police Commercial Vehicle Section. Troopers climbed into the passenger seats of semi-trucks to get a better view of what drivers are doing at the wheel. When noticing a violation, the passenger trooper would notify other troopers in the area and move in to catch the distracted driver.

This coincides with the recently passed Illinois state law prohibiting the use of mobile devices without the use of a hands-free system while driving.

RELATED: Illinois is cracking down on phone use behind the wheel starting July 1st

This program also has another beneficiary effect in reminding drivers to be more careful when driving close to large vehicles like semi-trucks.

According to District 7 Police, they were able to issue over 17 tickets and warnings within hours of the program's launch. The department is planning to continue the campaign as more local trucks are outfitted with police equipment.

In a statement posted to the the District Police's Facebook page, Captain Jason Dickey explains the necessity of increased awareness and policing of distracted driving by saying, "I can say with confidence that nearly every driver on the road has either seen the reckless actions of someone on a phone, been the driver distracted by their phone, or both. We all need to do better to keep our roads safe."