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PSA: Get The Heck Off Your Phone While Driving

Photo (c) Bristol Police Department

The Bristol Police Department along with the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office announced the continuation of the “U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY.” campaign.

Through this initiative, officers will be cracking down on motorists who text, talk or distract themselves with a hand-held mobile phone while driving.

“The fact is, whether it’s for music, email or texting, having a phone in close proximity to us when we are driving has become a bad habit,” stated
Councilman Josh Medeiros, who sits on the Police Commission.

“We need to raise public awareness similar to the anti-smoking and drunk driving campaigns done previously.”

“The members of the Bristol Police Department and the Connecticut Department of Transportation urge you to put your phone down when you get behind the wheel. If you need to text, pull over and park your vehicle in a safe place first,” stated Chief Brian Gould.

“As the parent of teenagers, I know that their phone is their life, but we don’t want it to cost them or someone else their life,” stated Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu.

“This campaign is a great opportunity to have that conversation again, and remind them of the tragedy they would live with if they harmed another person, as well as the financial impact to their insurance and bank account if they receive tickets.”

During the first wave of this campaign, in April 2018, more than 10,000 citations were issued to motorists who chose to ignore Connecticut’s distracted driving laws. While this is a start, there is still more work to be done.

The second run of this two-part campaign will go from August 1st to August 15th. Throughout the campaign, The Bristol Police Department will mobilize by adding special patrols aimed at catching distracted drivers – especially those on their phones. Over 50 law enforcement agencies, including both state and local police, who were previously involved in the April 2018 campaign, will again be participating.

The special patrols that will be running during this campaign are funded by Connecticut’s special distracted driving prevention funds. 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. Over $9.1 million has been awarded to the state over the last three years specifically to fund
campaigns like this one.

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.

In 2016, there were 3,450 distracted driving-related deaths and in 2015 an estimated 391,000 were injured in distracted driving motor vehicle crashes nationally.

For more information about national distracted driving issues, visit http://www.distraction.gov.

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