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Bridgeport Police Join State Distracted Driving Initiative

Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez
Bridgeport Police Chief AJ Perez Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. --The Bridgeport Police Department announced the continuation of the “U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY.” initiative – an effort to crackdown on motorists distract themselves from driving using a phone.

“We’re making gains,” said Bridgeport Chief of Police Armando “AJ” Perez. “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.”

According to surveys conducted during last year’s crackdown, there was an 8 percent drop in phone use by drivers at observation locations throughout municipalities where police conducted enforcement. The drop in observed use is encouraging to law enforcement agencies and demonstrates the need to reinforce to motorists that phone use while driving is both dangerous and illegal.

“Unfortunately, the fear of a getting a ticket is the only incentive for people to change their behavior,” added Perez. “Everyone thinks they can do it, that a crash won’t happen to them. Sadly, we see it every day, and it can and does happen”.

The campaign will run from through Aug. 16. The last operation during April resulted in over 12,000 citations. Nearly 50 law enforcement agencies, including both state and local police, are again participating in this operation.

The Department of Transportation had announced in April that the results of recent research found an estimated 11.1 million of occurrences of distracted driving happen each day throughout Connecticut. According to the findings, in total, it is estimated that 9.6 percent of drivers were either texting or talking on a hands-free device.

Under Connecticut’s cellphone 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. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and an estimated additional 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involv­ing distracted drivers.

“We’re going to keep doing this until people get the message,” said Perez.

For more information about national distracted driving issues, visit this link.

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