Norwich to crack down on distracted driving as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– Starting Thursday, police all across the state plan to crack down on distracted driving.

On patrol with Norwich police officer Chris Nott.

“It’s very common you just have to look for it.”

Starting Thursday, Norwich and many other communities will be looking for people talking or texting on their phones while behind the wheel of their car.

“I have been to several serious motor vehicle accidents where the person on the cell phone is the…. the cause of the accident,” said Nott.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Norwich plans to have one or two patrols each day dedicated to enforcing distracted driving laws. It’s all part of the ‘U Drive. U Text. U Pay,’ campaign.

“I think people still don’t realize that driving with a cell phone in your hand or talking on your cell phone when you’re driving is extremely dangerous,” said Nott.

“For example, 2019 over 6,000 accidents were attributed to distracted driving,” said Norwich Police Lt. John Perry.

That’s in Connecticut. 

Nationally between 2012 and 2019 there have been more than 26,000 deaths in crashes caused by distracted driving, according the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“It’s more about education in Norwich, said Lt. Perry. “We want to educate our motoring public and give them friendly reminders.”

If they don’t heed the verbal warnings there are fines which can start at $150.

Police want to remind folks that distracted driving isn’t just talking or texting on your phone. It could also be putting on your makeup or programming your GPS while driving.

“If you have your phone in your hand and you’re typing in an address, or you’re looking at your phone when you’re driving to get to a certain place that’s still distracted driving,” said Nott.

Police say drivers should pull over or get pulled over in the Rose City and all across the state.

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