East Hartford, CT — East Hartford Police will join law enforcement agencies nationwide during the month of April to remind drivers about the dangers and consequences of texting and distracted driving. This annual campaign is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. high-visibility enforcement effort.
Over the past decade, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads. In Connecticut in 2019, more than 6,600 crashes were attributed to distracted driving. According to NHTSA, between 2012 and 2019, 26,004 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver. While fatalities from motor-vehicle crashes decreased slightly from 2018, distraction-related fatalities increased by 10%.
Millennials and Gen Z are the most distracted drivers, often using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while behind the wheel. According to NHTSA research, young drivers 16 to 24 years old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers. In 2019, 9% of people killed in teen driving crashes died when the teen drivers were distracted at the time of the crash.
Connecticut law prohibits the use of any hand-held mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device at any time, even with a hands-free accessory.
“Texting, messaging, and other forms of distracted driving are increasing habits that put everyone at risk,” said East Hartford Police Chief Scott Sansom. “We want drivers to focus on the most important task: hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”
Violating Connecticut’s distracted-driving laws can be costly. Fines begin at $150 for a first offense, increase to $300 for a second offense, and are $500 for subsequent violations.
Drive Safe Every Trip
The Connecticut Department of Transportation and East Hartford Police urge drivers to put their phones away when behind the wheel. If you need to text, pull over and park your vehicle in a safe place first. No text or post is worth ruining someone’s day — or taking a life.
Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.
For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/distracted-driving.