Updated: Wednesday, 21 Nov 2012, 2:53 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 13 Nov 2012, 11:16 AM EST
(WTNH) -- By now most of us wear our seat belts when we get behind the wheel of a car. We take our safety and the safety of our families seriously.
People agree that distracted driving is dangerous yet police tell News 8’s Teresa LaBarbera that one in 20 people on the road is texting and driving. Nearly six thousand people die each year from accidents involving cell phones or texting.
"The reason you're being stopped is that you are on the phone and you need a hands free device in the state of CT," said Trooper Joe Smigelo.
Trooper Smigelo is a 24-year State Police veteran and makes distracted driving stops like this all day along Interstate-91.
"The problem is just increasing, more people buying cell phones, one out of 20 is on their phone or texting," said Trooper Smigelo.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 6,000 people die each year and Distracted Driving and half a million drivers are injured in accidents involving texting or phone use.
You're 23 times more likely to involved in an accident while distracted.
"Besides the phone, you have the mp3 players, people shaving, electric shavers, manual shavers, full size newspaper, reading books, little lap dogs," said Trooper Smigelo.
At 55 miles per hour, sending a text takes a little more than four seconds, that is equal to driving the length of a football field blind, says Distraction.gov .
"Basically I look for someone that swerves from side to side, it's very similar to a drunk driver," said Trooper Smigelo, "habits are the same, lane to lane, traveling much slower than the traffic, just not paying attention to the phone, they're more concerned with the phone they are on, texting, doing that e-mail they have to get out."
According to AAA, nearly 35 percent of drivers admit to texting while behind the wheel or driving while distracted. The question is why?
"Is there anything that can be done more to curb this," asked News 8's Teresa LaBarbera.
"Increased enforcement and getting the word out, there's the $125, $250, $400 fine," said Trooper Smigelo, "look to your left, right to his ear, it's not even phasing her, she's about to find out, not paying attention to what's surrounding her."
It will cost you.
"Maybe that's something they should do with the cell phone law, after the third offense no more mail in ticket, go to court, it is a serious thing out there, not that you're just on the phone, just everything else that could happen, taking your eyes off the road for a second, whether you're the one that's going to be injured, your actions cause an accident," said Trooper Smigelo.
"Can he get a ticket for speeding and the phone," asked LaBarbera.
"He'll get a ticket for both," said Trooper Smigelo.
"Phone just dropped because he saw the trooper in the center lane, and he's going to be in for a little surprise," Trooper Smigelo said.
The driver was operating his car without his license, while traveling over 85 miles per hour, all while using the cell phone.
That's a $541 mistake.
Using speaker phone doesn't get you out of a ticket either.
"I have hands free in here," one driver told police.
"Yeah, but you can't have it in your hands, can't have anything electronic in your hands," Trooper Smigelo said.
"That's how I call though," the driver said.
Trooper Smigelo says there is no excuse that will get you out of a ticket and your safest bet is to simply pull over.
"The couple seconds you're going to take to do this could save your life," said Trooper Smigelo.