CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7456
|FOR RELEASE: June 17, 2013||
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
FAX: (860) 594-3065
WEB SITE: www.ct.gov/dot
CONNECTICUT POLICE ANNOUNCE MAJOR CRACKDOWN ON TEXTING WHILE DRIVING
Next Step in the “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” Campaign
The Connecticut Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office today announced the kick-off of an Anti-Texting Enforcement Project, as part of the “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” campaign. This effort will enforce Connecticut’s tough law that prohibits motorists from texting and/or using hand-held cell phones while driving. The crackdown will run from Thursday, June 20, through Wednesday, June 26, 2013.
According to the latest information from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,300 people were killed in 2011 and approximately 387,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver, many of whom were illegally using cell phones and other electronic devices.
Under Connecticut’s cell phone and texting law, violations involve heavy fines, ranging from $125 for a first offense, $250 for a second violation, and $400 for each subsequent violation.
“Distracted driving, especially the use of a cell phone or other electronic device, is one of the most dangerous things you can do behind the wheel,” said CT Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker. “Roving patrols will be out in force throughout several Connecticut communities during these periods, in an effort to stress Connecticut’s zero tolerance for distracted drivers.”
According to a separate study by NHTSA, in 2011, 660,000 drivers were using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving during the day at any given daylight moment.
The crackdown on texting and illegal phone use announced today by Connecticut safety officials will commence in four separate, week-long enforcement waves in June and October, 2013, as well as March and July, 2014. The expanded program is made possible by a $275,000 grant from NHTSA. However, it is important to note that these enforcements periods are year round.
“The law against driving and texting behind the wheel is in force 365 days a year,” added Redeker.
The next round of enforcement waves – in Danbury, Ridgefield, Redding, Bethel, Brookfield, Newtown and Monroe -- are an expansion of an earlier, city-wide pilot project undertaken in the Hartford metro area in 2010. This project was designed to assist communities in enforcing texting bans and to determine what techniques work best.
A subsequent analysis of the Hartford high-visibility distracted driving demonstration experience showed a 57 percent drop in handheld cell phone use, while texting dropped by nearly three-fourths. The study also confirmed that it is more challenging to detect a driver texting behind the wheel than one who is using a hand-held cell phone.
The expansion of the program will provide additional information to other states and national highway safety experts about how effective certain enforcement strategies can be in curtailing illegal cell phone use, including harder-to-detect texting.
So far, 40 states (including Connecticut), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers; 10 states (including Connecticut), the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands also ban hand-held cell-phone use by drivers. Connecticut’s anti-cell phone and texting ban became law in 2010.
For more information about national distracted driving issues, visit www/distraction.gov.