West Hartford Police Issue More Than 700 Tickets for Distracted Driving During April Enforcement

Photo credit: Ronni Newton

In addition to the 715 infractions issued to motorists as part of April’s ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay’ campaign, police ticketed drivers for other offenses.

By Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Police Department began the first phase of its 2017 distracted driving enforcement campaign on April 4, and when it ended on April 30 more than 700 infractions had been issued, according to Capt. Jeff Rose who heads the Traffic Division.

According to Rose, 715 infractions were issued as part of the the April 2017 phase of the campaign, down slightly from the 751 infractions issued during the same period in 2016.

In addition, officers issued another 41 citations for seat belt violations, speeding, driving under suspension, and registration violations.

Other more serious charges that stemmed from distracted driving stops included a DWI arrest on April 13, and motorists who were found in possession of marijuana during stops on April 11 and 18.

Rose said that officers assigned to the distracted driving detail recovered a stolen car on April 6 and made two arrests in that incident.

Up to eight additional officers per day patrolled in marked an unmarked vehicles, and were specifically tasked with identifying drivers who were using their handheld cellphones.

Enforcement was concentrated on main roads such as Park Road, New Britain Avenue, Farmington Avenue, North Main Street, and Albany Avenue – as well as in school and construction zones and other neighborhoods throughout town where distracted driving is often observed.

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 the additional patrols to target distracted driving enforcement made possible through a grant provided by the Federal Highway Safety Administration.

The second part of the enforcement will take place from Aug. 3-16, 2017.

Rose said that during the two phases of the 2016 campaign, more than 1,000 motor vehicle infractions were issued for distracted driving violations.

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.

In a statement, Rose said, “It is our hope that this campaign, and other traffic safety campaigns supported by the Connecticut DOT and NHTSA, will promote safe driving behaviors that will make roadways safer for all that use them.”

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