Police cracking down statewide on distracted driving - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Police cracking down statewide on distracted driving

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Distracted driving enforcement is underway in Glastonbury. (Glastonbury police photo) Distracted driving enforcement is underway in Glastonbury. (Glastonbury police photo)
EAST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Police are cracking down on distracted drivers during a month-long enforcement campaign. 

Along highways, overhead signs about texting and driving can be seen. Police spotters will be out beginning Tuesday morning, searching  for distracted drivers.

It's all part of a statewide and national "U text, U drive, U pay" campaign. There are extra patrols in places like Cromwell, Orange, Berlin, Manchester, East Hartford and West Hartford.

Glastonbury police also posted about it to their Facebook page.

"Just because it's raining doesn't mean we aren't looking," they wrote. "Buckle up and stay off your phone."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deemed April "distracted driving awareness month."

Local police departments receive federal grants that are matched with state money to pay for the added patrols. Towns also pay a portion of it.

During the month-long operation, officers use a spotter to identify those driving while distracted and relay that in formation to officers further down the road.

Drivers traveling in the morning and afternoon will see the most patrols, but some departments plan to stagger them, so drivers will never know when they'll be out.

Federal records show that in 2015, over 3,400 people were killed nationwide in distracted driving crashes, a 9 percent rise over the previous year.

U text, U drive, U pay goes on all month.

The fines are steep. People caught with a hand-held device while behind the wheel in Connecticut can be hit with a first time fine of $150. It goes all the way up to $500 for a third offense.

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