Police Kick Off Campaign Against Texting And Driving

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Today state police and local are launching a crackdown on people who text while driving.

Over the next three weeks troopers and local police forces will be looking for drivers who are using cell phones. The campaign is called the "U Drive. U Text. U Pay." campaign.

Violators can face fines up to $500.

The federal government provided more than $2.3 million to step up law enforcement for the three-week blitz. Connecticut is the only state to receive that level of funding, and the state will allocate those funds to the many departments around the state that are participating in the campaign.

Farmington received $25,000 for a six-officer detail to ticket violators. The department is using spotters on Main Street in Unionville who then radio officers down the road to warn them about offenders.

"If we had ten officers out here, we'd be able to to keep ten busy, that's how many violations we've been witnessing," Lt. Colin Ryan said.

Officers in Farmington said in just a four hour stretchy they handed out about 50 tickets, the vast majority to drivers illegally on their cell phones.

The DMV website lists the phone restrictions:

Drivers under 18 years old aren't allowed to use cell phones (including the hands-free type) or any mobile electronic devices while driving. This includes personal digital assistants (PDAs) and text-messaging systems.

Motorists over 18 years old may only use hands-free cell phones while driving.

However, drivers of all ages are permitted to use a conventional or hands-free cell phone in an emergency situations, such as when calling for an ambulance or contacting law enforcement.

All drivers, regardless of age, are banned from texting while behind the wheel.

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