Texting and driving enforcement campaign begins Tuesday

From April 4 to April 30, Trumbull police will be out in force looking for distracted drivers as part of the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, a high-visibility effort to enforce distracted-driving laws.

Texting and driving is illegal and dangerous, but it happens all the time. Beginning April 4, officers will be stopping and ticketing anyone who is caught texting and driving.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving is a growing and deadly threat on roadways. The Trumbull Police Department is teaming up with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to make sure all motorists keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

Violating Connecticut’s distracted driving laws can be costly. Drivers who are ticketed for this violation can be fined $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second offense and $500 for third and subsequent offenses.

According to the NHTSA, 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. This is a 9% increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.

An analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety of 2009-2012 data found that while more than 80% of drivers believed it was completely unacceptable for a motorist to text behind the wheel, more than a third of those same drivers admitted to reading text messages while operating a passenger motor vehicle themselves.

Trumbull Police and the Connecticut Department of Transportation urge residents to put their phones down when behind the wheel. In the event that it is urgent to read or send a text, pull over at a safe location, then text.

Trumbull police offer the following tips about texting and driving:

  • Texting and driving is more than just personally risky. When you text and drive, you are a danger to everyone around you.

  • No one likes to be criticized by a friend for doing something wrong, but it’s even worse to get caught by law enforcement and have to pay a fine.

  • Don’t follow the pack, be a leader. When you get behind the wheel, be an example to your family and friends by putting your phone away.

  • Speak up. If your friends are texting while driving, tell them to stop. Listen to your passengers; if they catch you texting while driving and tell you to put your phone away, put it down.