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West Hartford’s Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign Yields 571 Infractions

Photo credit: Ronni Newton

In addition to the 571 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 2018 distracted driving enforcement campaign on April 2, and when it ended on April 30 officers had issued 571 infractions, according to a news release issued last week from Capt. Jeff Rose of the Traffic Division, who retired on Friday.

The 571 infractions issued as part of the the April 2018 phase of the enforcement campaign was down from the 715 infractions issued during the same period in 2017.

In addition, officers issued citations for other offenses including seatbelt violations, speeding, driving with a suspended license, and registration violations.

Three of the motorists stopped for distracted driving were also issued infractions for possession of marijuana.

During the distracted driving enforcement campaign, up to eight additional officers per day patrolled in marked and 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 phase of the 2018 campaign will take place in August.

During the two phases of the 2017 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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