WESTPORT, Conn. - As a part of the national "U Drive, U Text, U Pay" campaign, Westport police will be watching drivers with a closer eye through much of September.
Starting on Wednesday, Sept. 3, the police, along with the Connecticut Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office, will be strictly enforcing the ban on texting and/or using handheld devices while driving.
The crackdown will run from Wednesday, Sept. 3, through Wednesday, Sept. 24.
Violations of Connecticut’s cellphone and texting law involves heavy fines, ranging from $150 for a first offense, to $300 for a second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation.
"We want you to know, if you choose to engage in this potentially deadly behavior there will be consequences in the form of a substantial fine," said Westport Police Capt. Sam Arciola, Patrol Division Commander. “Dedicated patrols will be watching for violators in Westport, in an effort to enforce Connecticut’s zero tolerance for distracted drivers.”
The state, through the DOT's Highway Safety Office, was the only one in the nation to receive $2.3 million in federal Distracted Driving prevention funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Connecticut’s strong laws and policies aimed at keeping driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel made the State eligible for this funding source.
The Westport Police Department received a grant for $15,000 to carry out this enforcement mobilization.
“Our goal will not only be to ticket motorists who disobey Connecticut cell phone laws, but we also hope to save lives by changing people’s behavior and deterring this all too common activity,” said Chief of Police Dale Call.
Even before receiving this grant, the Westport Police Department had recognized the need for additional enforcement with cellphone violations and has conducted dedicated patrols targeting these violations in the past.
While this focused enforcement mobilization will end on Sept. 24, Westport Police Department says its officers will continue its efforts to target individuals who violate the states cellphone laws.