Police stepping up enforcement of distracted driving

NAUGATUCK — The Naugatuck Police Department is continuing to crack down on distracted drivers.

The department is participating in the “U DRIVE. U TEXT. U PAY.” initiative, an effort to crack down on motorists who text, talk or otherwise distract themselves from driving by using a hand-held mobile phone.

The campaign runs through Aug. 16 and marks the second time this year law enforcement agencies will add special patrols aimed at catching distracted drivers. The last operation, which took place in April, resulted in over 12,000 citations, a press release issued by the department stated.

Tickets for distracted driving are $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second violation, and $500 for each subsequent violation.

“Unfortunately, the fear of a getting a ticket is the only incentive for people to change their behavior,” said Naugatuck police Lt. Peter Bosco, who is the commanding officer of the Naugatuck Police Department Traffic Unit, in a press release. “Everyone thinks they can do it, that a crash won’t happen to them. Sadly, we see it every day and it can and does happen.”

The press release cited surveys conducted during last year’s initiative that showed an 8 percent drop in mobile phone use by drivers at observation locations throughout municipalities where police conducted enforcement.

“We’re making gains,” Bosco said in the release. “Considering the seriousness of this problem and the fact that we saw movement in the right direction is a sign we need to continue to this program.”

For more information, visit www/distraction.gov.