Police cracks down on texting and driving Aug. 3 to Aug. 16

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This month, Bristol police and law enforcement officers statewide will use a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on drivers who text and drive.

According to a press release from the Bristol Police Department, this effort is part of a larger campaign by the CT Department of Transportation Highway Safety Office and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to crackdown on drivers who choose to text, talk or otherwise distract themselves from the task of driving.

The last operation, which took place in April, resulted in over 12,000 citations issued to drivers who chose to ignore Connecticut’s distracted driving laws, the release said. Nearly 50 law enforcement agencies including both state and local police are again participating in this operation to keep Connecticut’s roadways safe, the release said.

In 2014, 3,179 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, the release said.

Police will be out in force looking to identify, stop, and cite drivers who choose to ignore Connecticut’s hand-held mobile phone ban and distracted driving laws, the release said. The fines range from $150 for the first offense, $300 for the second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation, the release said.

DOT observations conducted before and after last year’s crackdown showed a significant drop in hand held mobile phone use at selected enforcement locations, the release said. The observations showed a decrease in distracted driving from 9.6 percent before April 2015, to 7.8 percent in August 2015, which represents a 23 percent drop in phone use at the selected enforcement locations, the release said.

While the focused enforcement mobilization will end on Aug. 16, Bristol officers will continue to enforce Connecticut’s hand held mobile phone ban throughout the year, according to the release.

Law enforcement’s goal is to make Connecticut a safe place to live and travel, the release said.