US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has unveiled pilot programmes to help crack down on drivers using hand-held phones.

The federally-funded programmes, to be enforced in Syracuse, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut, will ticket drivers caught texting or talking on their mobile phones.

It also includes paid advertisements to remind motorists of the dangers of distracted driving.

The programme will examine the effect of increased enforcement efforts and public advertising on reducing distracted driving behaviours.

Launched on 8 April, the campaign is scheduled to end by 16 April.

Each programme has a federal funding of $200,000 and state funding of $100,000.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claimed that nearly 6,000 people were killed in 2008 due to distracted driving.