West Hartford Police Begin First Phase of 2017 Campaign Against Distracted Driving

According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, fatal crashes in Washington that were caused by distracted driving increased by 32 percent from 2014 to 2015.

As of January 1, Assembly Bill 1785 made it illegal for anyone in California to have a device in hand.

"These statistics are likely much higher and are often under-reported to law enforcement since motorists don't always admit to driving distracted", Farrow said.

According to the Michigan State Police Criminal Justice Information Center, there were 7,516 crashes in Michigan during 2015 involving distracted driving, resulting in 28 fatalities and 3,472 injuries, a media release states.

They also estimate that 660,000 people text and drive every day. But law enforcement will be particularly watchful this month for drivers using their phones.

Officers will be looking for those drivers with their cell phones in their hands on the freeways.

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If you're caught, you'll have to pay a minimum $136 fine.

A first violation will exceed $150 a second can run you $250.

"It's really tempting to when that cell phone is laying in the seat beside you, and you hear it ding, to pick it up and see who sent you a text", said State Farm Insurance agent, Jim Garrison.

"Our goal is that everyone will become more aware of the dangers of driving distracted". "Phone" and "Texting or Emailing" were listed as distractions for 23% of all distracted drivers, but while it may not be number one, using a phone is especially risky.

A study conducted by the DOT two years ago showed that motorists do respond to campaigns like this one, at least in areas where heavy high visibility enforcement takes place. To report distracted driving call the Ohio State Highway Patrol, #677.

"The message is out, and people know that distracted driving is unsafe", said Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating preventable vehicle crashes in the U.S. "It's critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors, and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on US roads". "We can avoid that - we just have to turn our phones off and turn safety on", Ward said.

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