Police: You text and drive — you pay

The Trumbull Police Department along with the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Office, Wednesday announced the kick-off of “U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY.” — an effort to crackdown on motorists who choose to text, talk or otherwise distract themselves from the task of driving by using a hand-held mobile phone.

This effort is part of a larger campaign sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — who deems the month of April, national distracted driving awareness month. Trumbull is participating in this campaign by adding special patrols — aimed at catching distracted drivers — especially those on their phones.

Under Connecticut’s cell phone 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.

As many as 50 law enforcement agencies including state and local police will take part in the mobilization to enforce Connecticut’s tough law that prohibits motorists from texting and/or using hand-held cell phones while driving. The crackdown will span the entire month of April. During a similar, three week campaign last September, over 7,000 motorists received a citation for using their phone while driving.

In 2013,154 people were killed and an estimated additional 424,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to Trumbull Police. According to a 2014 special article in the New England Journal of Medicine, the risk of a crash or near-crash among novice drivers increased with the performance of many secondary tasks, including texting and dialing cell phones.