(WTNH) — You’re driving down the road at 55 mph when you glance away to look at your phone, maybe to read or send a text. You only look away for five seconds, but in that time you’ve driven the length of a football field. And you weren’t looking where you were going.
Safety advocates are telling people to put down the phone and not drive distracted, and police are stepping up their enforcement of people who don’t heed that advice. This year state police have launched a series of crackdowns across Connecticut against distracted drivers as part of their “Phone In One Hand, Ticket In The Other” campaign.
So, here are five numbers to think about:
Are you one of the 69 percenters? A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found out 69% of the people they surveyed had texted or talked on the phone while driving in the previous 30 days. A survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows even higher numbers.
In 2012, 3,328 people were killed on the highways in the U.S. in distracted driving crashes. And drivers in their 20′s make up 27% of those involved in fatal crashes. What are considered distractions? Here’s NHTSA’s answer:
- Using a cell phone or smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading, including maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player
According to NHTSA, more than 1,300 people are injured every day as a result of a distracted driving crash. Fact Sheet.
The Connecticut Centralized Infractions Bureau reports that since October, 2005, almost 117,000 cell phone and distracted driving citations have been issued by local or state police in Connecticut. Fact Sheet.
As in dollars. That’s the fine for a third offense for driving while using a cellphone in Connecticut. Here’s what the state law says:
No person shall operate a motor vehicle on any highway while using a hand-held mobile telephone to engage in a call or while using a mobile electronic device while such vehicle is in motion.
No person under eighteen (18) years of age shall use a hand-held mobile telephone (including one with a hands free accessory) or a mobile electronic device while operating a moving motor vehicle on a highway.
The fine for a first offense is $150.