Motorists traveling through Stratford in April should exercise extra caution as local police plan to ramp up efforts to curtail distracted driving in Fairfield County.
The Stratford Police Department will join state and local law enforcement agencies in a “united effort to recognize and eliminate preventable deaths from distracted driving” in April, which has been designated as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
With many local residents planning on traveling during upcoming holidays, police will be on the lookout for motorists utilizing electronic devices while behind the wheel. Officials said the department is hoping to “get an early start on this campaign and make a concerted effort to do our part in combating distracted driving.”
According to police officials, the latest “statistics show motor vehicle fatalities are up 6 percent from 2015. More than 40,000 people were killed on our nation's roadways last year, and distracted driving is a major contributor.” One in every four accidents in the nation are caused by texting and driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
"Distracted driving is a real problem," Stratford Police Capt. Frank Eannotti said. "During this enforcement period, officers will be ticketing anyone who is texting or on their phone while behind the wheel. The bottom line is if you text and drive, you will pay."
In Stratford, violating Connecticut's distracted driving laws can lead to violations up to $500 for repeat offenders.
It is estimated that nearly 700,000 people use a cellphone while driving in America each day. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a crash is four times as likely if a driver is distracted, whether it’s on a hands-free device or not.
- To keep motorists safe, AAA released a handful of tips to help avoid distracted driving:
- Put aside electronic distractions and refrain from using text messaging, email, video games or internet functions, including those built into the vehicle, while driving.
- Pre-program your GPS; adjust seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before driving.
- Properly secure children and pets; and store loose possessions and other items that could roll around in the car.
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