WILTON — Wilton police have joined with the state Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office in its “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign through Oct. 15.

Through this initiative, officers will be focusing on motorists who text, talk, or distract themselves with a hand-held mobile phone while driving. This high-visibility enforcement effort is a partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Over the past decade, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes. According to NHTSA, between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver

From 2018 to 2019, there was a 50-percent increase in fatal distracted driving crashes. Since 2015, more than 38,000 crashes in Connecticut have involved a distraction. In 2019, more than 6,600 crashes were attributed to distracted driving.

Pedestrians and cyclists represent less than 0.5 percent of those involved in distracted driving crashes, but they account for 27 percent of the resulting deaths.

More than 40 law enforcement agencies, both state and local police, will be participating in the two-week campaign.

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.

For more information, visit distraction.gov.