U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

Look around.* It’s easy to see drivers everywhere in Westport using their cell phones. Texting. Probably looking for Pokemon too.

It’s easy to think there’s no enforcement whatsoever of Connecticut’s no-cell-phone law.

That’s not true. I get the police reports. I know that every week, our cops hand out a dozen or so tickets for illegal cell phone use.

Now through August 16, they’re handing out a lot more.

Texting is so much more interesting than paying attention to the road.

Texting is so much more interesting than paying attention to the road.

The Westport Police is joining the state Department of Transportation’s “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” initiative.

For the 2nd year in a row, law enforcement agencies are adding special patrols to catch distracted drivers — especially those on their phones.

The last operation resulted in over 12,000 tickets throughout Connecticut.

At $150 for a 1st offense, $300 for a second and $500 for each violation after that, that’s a lot of money.

And — hopefully — a lot of lives saved.

(For more information on distracted driving, click here.)

*But pay attention to the road!


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17 responses to “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

  1. Scott E. Brodie

    Consumer Reports had a clever suggestion to discourage texting-while-driving (they suggested this in particular to discourage teenage drivers from texting-while-driving, but there is no reason to restrict it to teens…): get a manual transmission, stick-shift car! This will keep both hands occupied naturally!

  2. Ex-cell-ent

  3. Dorian Barth

    I’m wondering why the fines are so
    light. Distracted driving isn’t just an inconvenience, it’s an extremely
    dangerous activity.
    Driving is a full time job and those who don’t take it seriously need to be taken off the road.

  4. Nancy Hunter

    Extra patrols, especially during summer months and long weekend holidays (Labor Day, Thanksgiving, etc.) really do make a difference.
    Are there highway cameras in CT to catch speeders, or is it controversial?

  5. Julie Cao-Weiss

    Whoever uses their phone in Westport is crazy. I have personally been stopped twice. Never anywhere else only Westport. They are like hound dogs witch can sniff out cell phone users…..which is great because it taught me to not talk and drive! Therefore, thank Westport police department for being so vigilant.
    Keep up the good work!

  6. “every week, our cops hand out a dozen or so tickets for illegal cell phone use.”. Puulleeeze! Our cops can hand out a dozen an hour! The issue is clearly related to the reality that the towns do NOT retain ANY of the funds obtained from the violations. Change this so that the towns reap a percentage of the ‘income’ and you’ll see texting reduced significantly!

    • Interesting if the case really is that the town doesn’t keep the fines. As you say, one hour sitting at any stop light on the Post Road would see 20 people working their phones, at least. Drive the length of Westport’s Post Road and simply look at the other drivers coming your way and you’ll see dozens of people holding their phone to their ear. There’s clearly very, very little enforcement. – Chris Woods

    • There is also the issue that our police force now has about 10 fewer officers than it did several years ago. Our men in blue are stretched pretty thin.

      • Wow, 10 fewer officers seems like a big reduction in force. Do you have the stats on then vs. now? – Chris Woods

        • There are 9 fewer officers than 10 years ago. While response time for calls is still excellent — well within best standards — this means fewer patrols in areas like the beach, downtown and around town, as well as less enforcement for things like distracted, aggressive and drunk driving. Three years ago there were 1 or 2 traffic officers dedicated to those things. Now there are not.

          The reason this “U Text…” initiative is taking place is that the state is paying 75% of the funds. Westport is paying 25%. The town can’t afford initiatives like this on its own, much of the time.

    • Nancy Hunter

      How about a “congestion charge”? That would ease both the traffic woes and dangerous driving.

      • Congestion charge? I don’t know what that is.

        • They have something similar in London. If you drive in certain parts of the city during hours when it is congested; you pay a tax in effect

          • Sharon Paulsen

            Interesting Michael – I didn’t know about that. Wonder how that would fly in the U.S. though, lol.

            I know that since CT residents are taxed to the hilt as it is (income, etc.), that idea would likely we squashed … rather vehemently.

            But, I kindof like the concept … sort of. CT feels congested ALL the time, so we’d probably be in a world of “financial” shite. 😎

  7. This is the very reason my husband invented SafeRide. Please take a look at the website and let us know what you think. We are actively looking for Beta Testers for both IPhone and Android users. SafeRide will stop texting and driving!
    http://www.gosaferide.com

  8. Loretta Santella Hallock

    In 1971 Wesport had a force of 70 officers.Now, 45 years later, there are nine or ten fewer officers to deal with many more police related issues. Continuous selective enforcement of any traffic violation is difficult, along with day to day police calls for service, without more manpower. This has become a problem in all areas including fire, public works and parks and recreation.