CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7546
|FOR RELEASE: September 22, 2014||
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
FAX: (860) 594-3065
WEB SITE: www.ct.gov/dot
CONNECTICUT STATE AND LOCAL POLICE TO BEGIN MAJOR CRACKDOWN ON TEXTING WHILE DRIVING
Anti-Texting Enforcement Demonstration Project as Part of the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” Campaign
The Connecticut Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office today announced the kick-off of an Anti-Texting Enforcement Project, as part of the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign. This effort by state and local police 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 Wednesday, September 3, through Wednesday, September 24.
This enforcement mobilization marks the first time the State has utilized dedicated federal funds meant to curb this unsafe driving behavior. Law enforcement patrols will target motorists who choose to ignore Connecticut’s hand held mobile phone ban. Under Connecticut’s cell phone and texting law, violations involve heavy fines, ranging from $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 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 P. Redeker. “Enforcement 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.”
The state, through the Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office was the only one in the nation to receive $2.3 million in federal Distracted Driving prevention funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Connecticut’s strong laws and policies aimed at keeping driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel made the state eligible for this funding source.
Redeker explained, “The State of Connecticut’s Highway Safety Program has been a leader in distracted driving prevention evidenced through both tough legislation as well as the award of smaller, research grants meant to test the effectiveness of targeted law enforcement to change driver behavior.”
The state first participated in a research program awarded to only 2 states in the nation in 2010 and 2011. This program showed a significant change in driver behavior, attributed to pairing strong enforcement of the hand held phone ban with advertising campaigns notifying motorists of police activity. Connecticut was again one of only two states selected to identify and test enforcement strategies meant to catch texting drivers in 2013 and 2014.
“This latest program puts it all together,” Redeker continued. “We are working closely with law enforcement agencies across the state for the first time to try and remind motorists that this is not a safe way to operate an automobile and that you are putting yourself and other roadway users at risk”.
While the focused enforcement mobilization will end on the 24th, many law enforcement agencies have indicated that enforcing Connecticut’s tough hand held mobile phone ban remains a priority.
“The law against driving and texting behind the wheel is in force 365 days a year,” added Redeker.
For more information about national distracted driving issues, visit www/distraction.gov.