How Connecticut police are cracking down on distracted driving

Connecticut State Police Sergeant Shane Hassett (WTNH)

BETHANY, Conn. (WTNH) — Multi-tasking and driving is something you should never do. It is both dangerous and illegal, and police across Connecticut are cracking down to keep you safe.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and while distracted driving is an important conversation to have year round, the is an extra emphasis being put on it this month by Connecticut law enforcement.

Sergeant Shane Hassett from the Connecticut State Police spoke with News 8 about what officers across the state are doing to curb distracted driving.

“We’re really trying to crack down on people using cellphones to text and talk while they’re operating their vehicle,” Hassett said. “In the first ten days [of this month], we’ve given out over 100 tickets from State police.”

There are certain ‘hot spots’ police are focusing on, and Sgt. Hassett explained a little more about how police are catching drivers on their phones.

“Well we are employing technology called D-DACTS, Data Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic Safety. What that entails is spacial and temporal analysis of areas within our troop territories, and we pass that information along to Troopers in the form of hot spots or heat maps that they can go to where there’s a high incidence of collisions, injuries, and fatal accidents.”

Troopers are also using certain vantage points to see people driving distracted.

“We’re employing roving patrols, spotting from elevated points, and certainly just driving around and sitting in certain areas,” Hassett said.

If you think you can just hold your phone down low and now one is going to catch you remember that both state and local police are looking specifically for that. There are some hefty fines that come along with being stopped for distracted driving.

“[It’s] $150 for the first violation, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for a third violation,” said Hassett. “We’re really requesting that, again, you store the phone while you’re driving. Numerous people will be driving to work. Just take the time to put it away and be safe. All of these distracted driving crashes that we investigate are preventable.”

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