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4/1/2019 - U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

Driving? Put Down That Phone!

Distracted driving continues to be one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads. The Canton Police Department encourages drivers to put down the phone and remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

In support of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the Canton Police Department will be partnering with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the month of April for the national U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

The goal of the campaign is to step up enforcement efforts to catch distracted drivers and enforce distracted-driving laws.

According to NHTSA, between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver. In fact, there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. While this represents a 9 percent decrease in distracted driving fatalities from 2016 to 2017, there is clearly more work to be done.

Over the years, millennials have become the biggest texting-while-driving offenders, using their cell phones to talk, text, and scroll through social media while behind the wheel. According to NHTSA, young drivers 16- to 24-years-old have been observed using handheld electronic devices while driving at higher rates than older drivers since 2007. In fact, in 2017, 8 percent of people killed in teen (15-19) driving crashes died when those teen drivers were distracted at the times of the crashes. And female drivers are most at-risk for being involved in a fatal crash involving a distracted driver.

“Because of the danger and illegality associated with distracted driving, you will see increased law enforcement efforts, as officers will be stopping and ticketing anyone who is caught texting and driving. If you text and drive, you will pay,” explained Chief Arciero.

Violating Connecticut’s distracted-driving laws can be costly. Connecticut General Statute Section 14-96aa(b) imposes a fine of $150 for the first offense.

An analysis by the AAA Foundation of 2009-2012 data found that while more than 80 percent 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.

“Although cell phones are ubiquitous, they are illegal and a distraction while driving” said Chief Arciero. “Do everyone and yourself a favor, drive safely and responsibly. Put your phone away when you get behind the wheel. The bottom line is this: If your attention is anywhere other than on the road, you’re driving distracted, and you’re driving dangerous. Save yourself the embarrassment and expense of getting pulled over.

Drive Safe Every Trip
The Canton Police Department and NHTSA urge you to put your phone down when you get behind the wheel. If you need to text, then pull over and do not drive while doing so. If you’re driving, follow these steps for a safe driving experience:
• If you are expecting a text message or need to send one, pull over and park your car in a safe location. Once you are safely off the road and parked, it is safe to text.
• Designate your passenger as your “designated texter.” Allow them access to your phone to respond to calls or messages.
• Do not engage in social media scrolling or messaging while driving. Cell phone use can be habit-forming. Struggling to not text and drive? Put the cell phone in the trunk, glove box, or back seat of the vehicle until you arrive at your destination.
Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal. Break the cycle. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.