Government Police/Fire

West Hartford Police Remind Residents to ‘Subtract the Distraction’

Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The second phase of the 2018 ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay’ campaign launches on Aug. 3 and runs through Aug. 15.

Submitted by West Hartford Police

The West Hartford Police Department, along with the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office, announced that the continuation of the “U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY.” campaign begins on Friday, Aug. 3.

Through this initiative, officers will be cracking down on motorists who text, talk, or distract themselves with a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

“Texting and driving is a public safety crisis. Our mission is to save lives and protect the public. Enforcing texting and driving laws is a critical priority for our department,” said Captain Michael Perruccio. “Starting Aug. 3, the community will see an increased and highly visible law enforcement presence on our roadways with a focus on safety. Our officers will be stopping and ticketing anyone who is endangering the public due to texting and driving. If you text and drive, you will pay.”

During the first wave of this campaign, in April 2018, more than 10,000 citations were issued statewide to motorists who chose to ignore Connecticut’s distracted driving laws. In West Hartford, police issued 571 infractions issued during the April phase of the campaign.

While this is a start, there is still more work to be done.

The second run of this two-part campaign will go from Aug, 3 to Aug. 15. Throughout the campaign, West Hartford Police will mobilize by adding special patrols aimed at catching distracted drivers – especially those on their phones. More than 50 law enforcement agencies, including both state and local police, who were previously involved in the April 2018 campaign will again be participating.

The special patrols that will be running during this campaign are funded by Connecticut’s special distracted driving prevention funds. Connecticut qualifies for this federal funding source through a mix of tough laws and a proven track record in strong enforcement of distracted driving laws. More than $9.1 million has been awarded to the state over the last three years specifically to fund campaigns like this one.

Violations under Connecticut’s cell phone and texting laws involve heavy fines, ranging from $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation.

In 2016, there were 3,450 distracted driving related deaths and in 2015 an estimated 391,000 were injured in distracted driving motor vehicle crashes nationally.

For more information about national distracted driving issues, visit www.distraction.gov.

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  • Texting is not just a “teen” problem. There are millions of employees in company cars and fleet vehicles who try to “multi-task” behind the wheel.
    While Connecticut may seek to lower distracted driving by increasing penalties, fees and regulations, there is another option. There are anti-texting apps, like AT&T DriveMode which is FREE!
    One area that is rarely discussed is that Connecticut has thousands of government vehicles that inspectors, regulators and the agricultural department use as fleet vehicles, but they do not have the technology to diminish distracted driving. I would love to see one state lead by example and use a program, like FleetMode, to block texts, redirect incoming phone calls, and impede all other apps in the State vehicles. If we want our state roads to be safer, let’s start by making our state vehicles safer.

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