BERLIN - Police are out in force this month looking for distracted drivers as part of the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, a high-visibility effort to enforce distracted-driving laws.
Drivers are continuously ignoring their responsibilities behind the wheel, and distracted driving is a growing and deadly threat.
Town police are teaming up with the state Department of Transportation during the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Distracted Driving Awareness month to make sure all motorists keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
During this period, officers will be ticketing anyone who is texting or on the phone while behind the wheel. The bottom line is: If you text and drive, you will pay.
Violating Connecticut’s distracted driving laws can be costly. Drivers ticketed for this violation can be fined $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense and $500 for third and subsequent offenses.
According to the NHTSA, 3,450 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2016. That is a 2-percent decrease in fatalities compared to the previous year.
An analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety of 2009-12 data found that while more than 80 percent of drivers believed it was completely unacceptable for a motorist to text behind the wheel, more than a third of those same drivers admitted to reading text messages while operating a passenger motor vehicle themselves.
If you need to text, pull over and park your vehicle in a safe place first.
Remind your family and friends to never text and drive:
Texting and driving is more than just personally risky. 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.
Don’t follow the pack, be a leader. When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away.
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.