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Changing Leaves Distract Some Drivers in Weston

WESTON, Conn. – Taking a drive any time soon to see the fall foliage in Weston?If you do, you might want to think about slowing down and making sure to keep your eyes on the road.Weston Police Chief John Troxell said while his department does not take part in any official program like some Fairfield County towns during the peak of autumn leaf peeping, his officers are aware of the dangers that go with distracted driving this time of year. That includes motorists looking at the leaves while driving, and even trying to snap photos at the same time."Our patrol force is out there on a regular basis slowing people down," said Troxell. "While we don't take part in any special program, we are aware of the increased hazards (due to the falling leaves and rain), and we use radar and another traffic enforcement tool that indicates how fast motorists are driving that we set up all over town."Our main goal is to make people aware of their speed at all times," Troxell said.Indeed, police officials around Fairfield County say their departments step up their patrol efforts as the combination of falling leaves and rain makes many roads slick and dangerous, with foliage adding to the growing list of "distracted driving" dangers.In fact, trying to get the perfect photo on your digital camera or cell phone while driving is a "recipe for road disaster.""Of course this time of year we have our usual leaf peepers driving around town, especially on the weekend," said Wilton Police Lt. Donald Wakeman. "If you want to look at the leaves or scenery, it's better to pull over take a look while stopped."Overall, distracted driving increases in October as people take to the roads to view leaves in the Northeast as they change colors. That has prompted towns like Greenwich to step up enforcement with a more pro-active approach.Greenwich uses the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, or STEP, a combination of education and enforcement designed to reduce traffic offenses. Each month, traffic safety priorities are highlighted according to town needs. Now, more officers are out on the roads to look out for distracted drivers.

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