FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2011 file photo, a phone is held in a car in Brunswick, Maine. Texting while driving increased 50 percent last year and two out of 10 drivers say they've sent text messages or emails while behind the wheel despite a rush by states to ban the practice, the National Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday. (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach, File)
Connecticut police and the state Department of Transportation have announced a major crackdown on distracted driving violations, according to a DOT press release.
The Anti-Texting Enforcement Project is part of the “Phone in One Hand, Ticket in the Other” initiative and will include four week-long enforcement periods throughout 2013 and 2014. The enforcement periods will take place in June and October of this year and March and July of next, according to the press release.
Distracted drivers will be fined $125 for the first offense, $250 for a second offense and $400 for each subsequent violation, the DOT said.
The crackdown is an expansion of a 2010 Hartford pilot project designed to minimize the number of distracted-driving related accidents. According to the U.S. DOT National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 660,000 drivers used cellphones and electronic devices in 2011, resulting in 3,300 deaths and 387,000 injuries, the DOT said.
Forty states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands employ bans on texting while driving. Connecticut implemented its initial ban in 2010.