BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- As part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Bridgeport Police Department is partnering with the Connecticut Highway Safety Office to crack down on drivers who ignore the state’s mobile phone laws.
The joint effort, which began April 4, will run until the end of the month.
“The laws are well known for the most part,” said Bridgeport Police Chief A.J. Perez. “Connecticut has been ahead of the curve in terms of passing tough laws and enforcing them, and while this is a difficult habit to break, the impacts this behavior can have are very real and result in crashes that have real impacts of people’s lives. This is why we have to continue to go out and enforce the law.”
In 2014, an estimated 3,179 people were killed and an additional 431,000 were injured nationwide in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
Last year, law enforcement personnel in the state of Connecticut wrote over 22,000 citations as part of a campaign to get drivers to put down their phones and pay attention to the road.
Connecticut Department of Transportation studies conducted before and after last year’s crackdown showed a decrease in distracted driving, from 9.6 percent before April 2015, to 7.8 percent in August 2015.
Fines for using a mobile phone while behind the wheel have not changed, though they are still steep. A first offense will cost $150, a second $300 and a third and subsequent offense $500.
Perez, however, says many people have still not taken the warnings to heart.
“While some people may have gotten the message to put down the phone, we all know we still see people every day who choose to ignore the Connecticut law, and put themselves and others on the road at risk,” he said. “If we continue to ratchet down on use over time, we can prevent needless crashes from happening, and people from getting injured or killed – that’s what it’s all about.”
For more information about national distracted driving issues, click here.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.