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Distracted driving campaigns net hundreds of Connecticut drivers

April was Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and several cities stepped up their enforcement of anti-distracted driving laws, which are some of the toughest in the nation. As a result, hundreds of drivers were issued citations for distracted driving, which is notoriously difficult for officers to enforce. Challenging enforcement, along with drivers' increasing inattentiveness, combine to make distracted driving one of the state's leading causes of car accidents and resulting personal injury.

Unlike most other states, Connecticut penalizes actual distracted driving -- not just the use of electronic devices. While driving, it is illegal to engage in any activity, such as eating or doing makeup, that is not related to the operation of the vehicle and that could interfere with safe driving on a road or highway. It is also illegal to make a phone call with a handheld device or to use an electronic device, while a vehicle is in motion. No motorist under 18 is permitted to use an electronic device at all while driving, including making hands-free calls.

Among the cities that participated in the crackdown on distracted drivers, West Hartford's police department cited 571 motorists for violating Connecticut's distracted driving laws. Milford law enforcement issued another 192 citations. Meanwhile, police in Norwalk pulled over and ticketed an additional 390 distracted drivers as law enforcement across the state participated in the campaign.

The distracted driving campaign unintentionally coincided with a report that named Connecticut drivers the most unsafe in the United States. Among the reasons cited for the dubious honor was the use of cell phones while driving. Connecticut drivers reportedly use their phones 34 percent of the time they are operating a vehicle.

Source: West Hartford News, "WHPD concludes distracted driving campaign," May 9, 2018

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