Wilton police began a high-visibility distracted driving enforcement campaign on Aug. 3, that will continue through Aug. 31.

The department is once again partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. enforcement effort. The town received a grant of almost $20,000 to help pay for police overtime to conduct the campaign.

The goal is to step up enforcement efforts to catch distracted drivers and enforce distracted-driving laws.

Over the past decade, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads. According to NHTSA, between 2012 and 2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver.

In 2017, that number was 3,166, and although this represents a 9-percent decrease in distracted driving fatalities from 2016 to 2017, there is clearly more work to be done, police said.

Violating Connecticut’s distracted-driving laws can be costly. Drivers who are ticketed are fined $150 for the first offense, $300 for the second offense, and $500 for the third and subsequent offenses.

This campaign is usually held twice each year, in April and August. In 2016, Wilton police wrote 157 tickets and 159 in 2017.