WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Westport Police Department announced the continuation of the “U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY.” initiative, an effort to crackdown on motorists who distract themselves from driving by using a mobile device.
“We’re making gains,” said Lt. David Farrell of the Westport Police Department. “Considering the seriousness of this problem and the fact that we saw movement in the right direction is a sign we need to continue to this program.”
According to surveys conducted after last year’s crackdown, there was an 8 percent drop in mobile phone use by drivers at observation locations throughout municipalities where police conducted enforcement. The drop in observed use is encouraging to law enforcement agencies, and demonstrates the need to reinforce to motorists that mobile phone use while driving is both dangerous and illegal. The campaign will run from Aug. 3 to 16 and marks the second time this year law enforcement agencies will mobilize by adding special patrols aimed at catching distracted drivers, especially those on their phones.
“Unfortunately, the fear of a getting a ticket is the main incentive for people to change their behavior,” added Farrell. “Everyone thinks they can do it, that a crash won’t happen to them. Sadly, we see it every day and it can and does happen.”
The last operation, which took place during April, resulted in over 12,000 citations issued to motorists who chose to ignore Connecticut’s distracted driving laws. Nearly 50 law enforcement agencies including both state and local police are again participating in this operation, aimed at keeping Connecticut’s roadways safe.
Under Connecticut’s cell phone and texting law, violations involve heavy fines, ranging from $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation. Connecticut remains the only state in the nation to receive special distracted driving prevention funds. Over $6.8 million dollars has been awarded to the state over the last three years specifically.
“We’re going to keep doing this until people get the message,” Farrell said. For more information about national distracted driving issues, visit this link.