Watch out for the new ghost on the highway.
Westchester County police will introduce a new “ghost car” Wednesday that is designed to sneak up on motorists who are talking on hand-held cell phones, text-messaging or driving without seatbelts. The car, a white Crown Victoria like other police cars, has no rack or lights on the roof, and the county police decal on the side of the vehicle is another shade of white, rather than red and blue, to blend in with other traffic.
“We’re actually calling it the ghost car,” said Capt. Paul A. Stasaitis, commander of the patrol division. “It’s what we call a low-profile unit. It’s kind of a new concept for this area.” Stasaitis said police had been discussing problems they’re having enforcing bans on cell phones and texting, as well as as seat belt violations, because drivers notice patrol cars coming. “If everybody sees the cop, nobody does anything wrong so you don’t catch the people you need to catch,” Stasaitis said. “Drivers slow down, drop their texting device, then the minute you’re past them, they go back to what they were doing. With this car, we’ve got more of a chance of catching violators because it’s not readily noticeable. Yet, when you do get close to it, you could tell it’s a police car because of the markings.”