Troopers patrol for distracted drivers, drunk drivers during holiday weekend

- FILE - Connecticut State Police (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Trooper Randall Tavaris starts his shift this evening with a motor vehicle accident in the tunnel on I-84 in Hartford. This officially kicks off a four-day Fourth of July weekend, where there is a lot of drinking and driving.

“People for whatever reason, they take their chances and they want to drink and drive and we do come across them,” he said.

Because the Fourth of July falls on a Tuesday this year, it creates a four day weekend for most people, which adds an extra day with extra traffic so troopers are asking you to be extra careful.

“There is no room for error so we definitely need people to pay attention and realize what’s going on in the road,” he said.

It’s only been a couple of hours since Trooper Tavares has started his shift and already he has had three calls for accidents. All three of the accidents were on I-84 in rush hour traffic, with half a dozen others across the state.

“It definitely gets busier here in Hartford and we see it all the time. Our main goal is to keep everybody safe,” Trooper Tavares said.

And here’s something to think about. State police say distracted drivers look just about the same as a drunk driver does on the highway. They weave back and forth and cross over the lines as they text and talk on their phone in hand.

“It’s pretty much the same as drinking and driving. If you were on your cell phone talking and you’re not paying attention to what’s going on on the road, you’re distracted and you’re putting yourself at harm  and putting other people at harm,” he said.

Something else to keep in mind is if you do get arrested over the four-day weekend, the courts are closed on Tuesday. That means that if you cannot make bail, it could be a long weekend behind bars.

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