Second Phase of Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign Begins in West Hartford

Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The second phase of the West Hartford Police Department’s 2016 distracted driving high visibility enforcement campaign begins Aug. 3, 2016.

Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Photo credit: Ronni Newton

By Ronni Newton

The first phase of the West Hartford Police Department’s 2016 campaign against distracted driving was held in April, and the second phase begins Wednesday and will run through Aug. 16.

According to Capt. Jeff Rose, who heads the West Hartford Police Department’s Traffic Division, there were 751 infractions for distracted driving issued to motorists during the April campaign. There were another 53 citations handed out for other violations, Rose said, including seat belt violations, speeding, driving under suspension, and registration violations.

Officers also made one DWI arrest and issued an infraction for possession of marijuana while enforcing distracted driving laws, he said.

West Hartford’s efforts are part of the Connecticut Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office’s “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” campaign, with funding for additional patrols to target distracted driving enforcement made possible through a $45,375 grant provided by the Federal Highway Safety Administration.

Rose said that extra patrols will be deployed looking for distracted drivers on main roads including Park Road, New Britain Avenue, Farmington Avenue, North Main Street, and Albany Avenue. Enforcement will also target other roadways where distracted driving is observed.

Fines in Connecticut for violations begin at $150 for a first offense, increase to $300 for a second offense, and are $500 for subsequent violations. Fines double in a construction, utility, traffic, or fire safety zones.

“It is our hope that this dedicated enforcement will make West Hartford roads safer for all motorists,” Officer Ed Jacovino of the West Hartford Police Traffic Division said in a news release.

“While some of us did not own a cell phone until almost 30, it seems to be an extension of some motorist’s hands,” Rose said in an email. Enforcing the state’s distracted driving laws makes travel on the roadways safer, he said.

This campaign is one of several that the West Hartford Police Department participates in throughout the year. “The campaigns are supported by the Connecticut DOT and NHTSA with the goal that enforcement will promote safe driving behaviors that will make roadways safer for all that use them,” Rose said in a statement.

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