Police cracking down on distracted driving

The Milford Police Department is partnering with the Connecticut Highway Safety Office as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month to crack down on drivers who ignore Connecticut’s mobile phone laws.

The campaign will run through Aug. 16 and marks the second time this year that law enforcement agencies will mobilize by adding special patrols aimed at catching distracted drivers, especially those on their phones. The last operation, which took place during April, resulted in over 12,000 citations issued to motorists who ignored Connecticut’s distracted driving laws.

Nearly 50 law enforcement agencies, including state and local police, are again participating in this operation – aimed at keeping Connecticut’s roadways safe. The Department of Transportation announced in April that recent research found an estimated 11.1 million occurrences of distracted driving happen each day throughout the state of Connecticut.

Violating Connecticut’s cell phone and texting laws can result in heavy fines, ranging from $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation.

Law enforcement officials said that in 2014, 3,179 people were killed and an estimated additional 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. 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 ignore distracted driving laws, officials said. More than $6.8 million has been awarded to the state over the last three years to fund campaigns like this one.

For more information about national distracted driving issues, visit distraction.gov.