Government Police/Fire

West Hartford Police: Distracted Driving Could Cost You More Than a Fine

Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Police are participating in the second phase of the 2019 ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay.’ Enforcement Campaign, which began Aug. 1.


The Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety office is again teaming up with state and local law enforcement to save lives and make our roads safer by combating distracted driving through the next wave of the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign.

The campaign is both an educational initiative and enforcement effort to keep distracted drivers off the road.

Law enforcement officers will be out in full force Aug. 1-15, 2019 for the campaign, which is a national high-visibility effort to enforce distracted-driving laws.

Distracted drivers aren’t just a threat to themselves; they’re a danger to everyone else on the road. Texting has become one of the most common, pervasive forms of distracted driving, and too many drivers are succumbing to this deadly and illegal habit.

State and local law enforcement agencies across the state, including in West Hartford, will be stepping-up enforcement to put an end to all forms of distracted driving, showing zero tolerance in an effort to save lives. Learn more about the numbers behind this dangerous trend.

The Frightening Stats according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • Thankfully, there was a decrease in total fatalities from 2016 (3,490) to 2017 (3,166), but even one fatality is one too many, which is why we must work together to spread the message about the dangers of texting and driving.
  • Distracted-driving-related fatalities comprised 9.5 percent of all fatal crashes for the last six years (2012-2017).
  • Texting while driving continues to be an especially problematic trend among millennials. In fact, in 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when teen drivers were distracted at the times of the crashes.
  • According to NHTSA, young drivers 16- to 24-years-old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.
  • Nine percent of drivers 15- to 19-years-old who were involved in fatal vehicle crashes were reported as being distracted at the time of the crash in 2016. This age group has the largest percentage of drivers who were distracted at the time of a fatal crash.
  • Handheld cell phone use while driving is highest among 15- to 29-year-old drivers, but female drivers are most at-risk for being involved in a fatal crash involving a distracted driver.
  • Female drivers with a cell phone have been more likely to be involved in fatal distracted driving crashes as compared to male drivers every year since 2012.

Safety Tips for Driving:

  • If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
  • Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
  • Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving. It was there when you left home, and it will be there when you check it later.
  • Cellphone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of your vehicle until you arrive at your destination.

Remind your family and friends to never text and drive

  • Texting and driving is more than just a personal risk. When you text and drive, you are a danger to everyone around you.
  • No one likes to be criticized by a friend for doing something wrong, but it’s even worse to get caught by law enforcement and have to pay a fine.
  • Speak up. If your friends are texting while driving, tell them to stop. Listen to your passengers: If they catch you texting while driving and tell you to put your phone away, put it down.

Remember, when you get behind the wheel, put your phone away. U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

For more information, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.

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