Wilton police begin distracted driving crackdown

The Wilton Police Department, along with the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office, is continuing its efforts to crack down on motorists who text, talk or otherwise distract themselves from driving by using a hand-held mobile phone.

The “U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY.” initiative began today, Aug. 3, and will continue through Aug. 16. Police conducted a similar effort in April.

According to surveys conducted after last year’s crackdown, there was an 8% drop in mobile phone use by drivers at observation points throughout municipalities where police conducted enforcement, a press release said. “We’re making gains,” said Wilton Police Chief Robert Crosby. “Considering the seriousness of this problem and the fact that we saw movement in the right direction is a sign we need to continue to this program.”

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.

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 choose to ignore distracted driving laws. More than $6.8 million dollars has been awarded to the state over the last three years to fund campaigns like this one.

Information: www/distraction.gov.