standing Stonington Police Department

STONINGTON — Stonington police have joined in the statewide "U Drive, U Text, U Pay" campaign, an effort aimed at reducing distracted driving and detecting drivers who are not paying attention to the road. The campaign began Tuesday and will run  through the month of April. Added patrols will be funded through a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The patrols are aimed at drivers who text, talk or otherwise distract themselves by using handheld mobile phones, said Stonington Police Sgt. Keith Beebe. 

According to NHTSA, Connecticut had 304 traffic fatalities in 2016, a six-year high. The number dropped to 278 in 2017, but rose again in 2018 to 290 deaths in 2018, according to confirmed but unofficial data. More data is available at cdan.nhtsa.gov/stsi.htm#.

Beebe said the department is encouraging all drivers to put down the phone when starting the engine. "As you pick up that phone while driving, remember how frustrated you get when you see others doing so," he said. "Do your part to help keep our roads safe."

jvallee@thewesterlysun.com

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