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Did you know April is distracted driving awareness month?

The CT DOT explains the dangers of distracted driving and how they are trying to reach teenage drivers.

HARTFORD, Conn. — April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the CT Department of Transportation joins Live Work Play to talk about why it's so important to be focused on driving and avoid distractions.

CT Police Agencies across the state will be stepping up their efforts to enforce distracted driving laws from April 1 - April 30. The Connecticut Department of Transportation urges motorists to put their phones down when they get behind the wheel. If someone needs to text, pull over and park the vehicle in a safe place first.

In Connecticut in 2020, there were nearly 5,000 crashes attributed to distracted driving. According to NHTSA, between 2012 and 2019, 26,004 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver. While fatalities from motor vehicle crashes decreased slightly from 2018, distraction-related fatalities increased by 10%. NHTSA also reported that the number of deaths linked to driver distraction was 3,142 nationwide, or almost 9% of all fatalities, in 2019. This represents a 10% increase over the year 2018, or 284 more fatalities. The distraction figure was the largest increase in causes of traffic deaths reported for 2019.

Connecticut law prohibits the use of any hand-held mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Violating Connecticut’s distracted-driving laws can be costly. Drivers who are ticketed are fined $200 for the first offense, $375 for the second offense, and $625 for the third and subsequent offenses. (Fines were just raised in October of 2021.) Drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device at any time, even with a hands-free accessory.

One way that the CT DOT is getting the word out to our young and most vulnerable drivers is through a national program called “Save a Life Tour”. The Save a Life Tour is the nation’s leading impaired and distracted driving prevention program and is a comprehensive high impact safe driving awareness program that informs, educates and demonstrates the potentially deadly consequences resulting from poor choices and decision made by the operator of a motor vehicle. The Tour visits between 60-80 Connecticut high schools, technical schools, and private schools each year.

To Learn more, log on to Facebook.com/CTHighwaySafety

This edition of Live. Work. Play. is sponsored by the CT DOT.

Credit: CT DOT