Police to crack down on distracted driving

State police will be cracking down on distracted drivers will special force this month.

Their renewed vigor is part of the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” campaign, which runs through Wednesday, Aug. 16.

The campaign’s purpose is to increase troopers’ efforts to “find and fine” motor vehicle operators using hand-held devices while driving.

Nationwide in 2015, an estimated 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Crashes due to cell phone usage are preventable. Keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the steering wheel whenever you are driving,” said Commissioner Dora B. Schriro of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

“That incoming text and outgoing phone call can wait. Focus all of your attention on arriving at your destination safely,”

Connecticut police agree with Schriro.

“Troopers have responded to countless crashes caused by distracted drivers – some of which have ended in fatalities,” said Colonel Alaric J. Fox, commanding officer of the State Police.

Fines for using a mobile phone while behind the wheel in Connecticut are significant: A first offense will cost $150, a second $300, and a third $500.