This Month, CT Motorists Reminded: "One Text or Call, Can Wreck it All"

Motorists from all over the country are reminded that during the rest of the month of April 2014, law enforcement personnel will be looking for motorists who text while driving. This effort is a part of the national effort to convince people to obey the law.

“People need to know that we are serious about stopping this deadly behavior,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker. “Texting and driving has reached epidemic levels, and enforcement of our State texting law is part of the cure.”

Violating Connecticut’s texting law, which underwent changes last year, can be costly. Drivers can expect a $150 fine for their first offense, $300 for a second, and $500 for a third or any subsequent offenses.

In 2012, there were 3,328 people killed and 421,000 injured nationwide in distraction-affected crashes. The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute reports that 25% of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they drive, and 20 percent of teens and 10 percent of parents admit that they have extended, multi-message text conversations while driving.

“When you text while driving, you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. That puts everyone else’s lives in danger, and no one has the right to do that,” said Governor’s Highway Safety Representative Tom Maziarz.

The successes of the Click It or Ticket and Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaigns have proven that the combination of tough laws, targeted advertising, and high-visibility enforcement can change people’s risky traffic safety behaviors. This strategy was implemented as part of the Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other distraction demonstration here in Connecticut, and Syracuse, New York, in 2010 and 2011, and then to Delaware and Sacramento County in 2012 and 2013. In both projects, texting (and cell phone use) declined dramatically.  Connecticut is currently conducting a third pilot project in the Danbury area to test effective enforcement strategies to identify and cite those who choose to text and drive.

“We’re serious about enforcing texting laws. If you drive and text, you will pay,” said Commissioner Redeker.

For more information, please visit www.distraction.gov


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