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Westport Police: Put Your Phone Away Or Get Ready To Pay

Westport Police are cracking down on distracted driving this month.
Westport Police are cracking down on distracted driving this month. Photo Credit: File

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Westport Police will be cracking down on distracted driving this month during its annual U Drive. U Text. U Pay enforcement campaign.

From April 4 to April 30, Westport officers will be out in full force in a high-visibility campaign to enforce distracted driving laws.

"Everyone knows texting and driving is illegal and dangerous, and everyone knows they shouldn’t be doing it—but we see it happen all the time,” said Deputy Chief Sam Arciola. “Beginning April 4, you will see stepped-up law enforcement efforts. Officers will be stopping and ticketing anyone who is caught texting and driving. If you text and drive, you will pay.”

Westport Police said that too many drivers are ignoring their responsibilities behind the wheel, and distracted driving is a growing and deadly threat on roadways. Westport is teaming up with the Connecticut Department of Transportation during the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) National Distracted Driving Awareness month to make sure all motorists keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

Violating Connecticut’s distracted driving laws can be costly. Drivers who are ticketed for this violation can be fined $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense and $500 for third and subsequent offenses.

According to the NHTSA, 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. This is a 9 percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year. An analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety of 2009-2012 data found that while more than 80 percent of drivers believed it was completely unacceptable for a motorist to text behind the wheel, more than a third of those same drivers admitted to reading text messages while operating a passenger motor vehicle themselves.

“Do the right thing—put your phone away when you get behind the wheel. Save yourself the embarrassment and expense of getting pulled over—or more importantly, maybe save someone’s life,” said Arciola.

Westport Police said that drivers who need to text should pull over and park their cars in a safe place first. You should also remind friends and family to never text and drive.

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