DANBURY, Conn. -- Unless a driver has a spare $150 to $500 lying around for fines, they might want to put down their phones this month when the Danbury Police Department takes part in the Connecticut Department of Transportation's Highway Safety program -- "U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY."
The initiative is focused on cracking down on motorists who chose to text, talk or otherwise distract themselves while driving with a hand-held mobile phone in an effort to save lives.
Five seconds is the average time a drivers eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded, according to distraction.gov.
It's also enough time to kill someone. In 2014, 3,179 people were killed and another 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, including many who were texting, the agency reported.
According to surveys conducted following a state crackdown in 2015, there was an eight percent drop in mobile phone use by drivers where police conducted enforcement.
The campaign will run from Aug. 3 to Aug.16 and include special patrols – aimed at catching distracted drivers – especially those on their phones.
“Considering the seriousness of this problem and the fact that we saw movement in the right direction is a sign we need to continue to this program," said Danbury Police Detective Lt. Chris Carroccio.
The last operation, which took place during April, resulted in over 12,000 citations issued to motorists who chose to ignore the state's distracted driving laws.
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.
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