For the next two weeks police departments are out in force to discipline distracted drivers.
Police departments across the state are participating in the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” initiative now through August 16. The campaign is ongoing and part of a larger operation sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
On North Main Street near Oakland Street in Manchester, police set up a checkpoint on the first afternoon of the crackdown to catch distracted drivers.
"Cellphones have become a big part of our lives but the reality is when we're looking at our cellphones, we're taking our eyes off the road. For every second that our eyes are off the road, that's time when a hazard could come up, and it reduces our ability to stop and maneuver around that hazard," said Manchester police Sgt. Steve Bresciano.
If the science doesn't convince drivers to keep their hands and eyes off their phones maybe the fines will. The first violation is $150, the second violation is $300, and a further violation is $500.
"We wrote about a half dozen $500 tickets in April," said Bresciano.
In April state and local police departments joined up in a previous statewide crackdown. Manchester is using a plainclothes officer drivers just won't notice.
"He's gonna be set up out there basically to spot violations and look for people who are actively using their cellphone or other electronic device while they're driving, and it's taking their attention away from the road."
Cops at the checkpoint take it from there, pulling the distracted driver over to, as Bresciano put it, "address the violation."