From public safety spokesman Bill Kaempffer:
The Bridgeport Police Department, along with the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office, today announced the kick-off of “U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY”–an effort to crackdown on motorists who choose to text, talk or otherwise distract themselves from the task of driving by using a hand-held mobile phone.
This effort is part of a public safety campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Bridgeport is adding special patrols–aimed at catching distracted drivers–especially those on their phones.
“We know the dangers of distracted driving,” said Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. “Driving and texting is illegal, irresponsible and it costs lives. Our priority is the safety of our kids and families and if you text and drive, officers will pull you over. This is a priority every day.”
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.
As many as 50 law enforcement agencies including state and local police will take part in the mobilization to enforce Connecticut’s tough law that prohibits motorists from texting and/or using hand-held cell phones while driving. The crackdown will span the entire month of April. During a similar, three-week campaign last September, over 7,000 motorists received a citation for using their phone while driving.
>In 2013, 3,154 people were killed and an estimated additional 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. According to a 2014 special article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of a crash or near-crash among novice drivers increased with the performance of many secondary tasks, including texting and dialing cell phones.
Connecticut remains the only state in the nation to receive special distracted driving prevention funds–the same funds that allow for special patrols to identify, stop and cite drivers who choose to ignore distracted driving laws. Over $4.6 million dollars has been awarded to the state over the last two years specifically–to fund campaigns like this one. 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.
“It’s this simple. If you text and drive, we will see you, pull you over, and fine you,” said Chief Gaudett.
For more information about national distracted driving issues, visit www.distraction.gov.