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State Troopers crack down on distracted driving over Memorial Day weekend

HARTFORD -- The final day of a holiday weekend is always the busiest travel day for drivers. The heavy traffic left people frustrated or easily distracted behind the wheel.

The slow and painful traffic about sums up the day for most drivers who passed along Connecticut highways.

Cars were backed up on I-95 this afternoon and evening with an uptick around 7 p.m. as drivers tried to wait out the traffic but to no avail.

Some riders needed that little extra pick-me-up on their way home. Luckily, near exit 65 in Westbrook, Boy Scouts from Troop 55 lent a helping hand with free donuts and coffee.

The scouts were camped out in front of State Troop F which upped their enforcement this weekend in preparation of the heavy traffic.

"This weekend it was a lot of driving while intoxicated, a lot of seatbelts and a lot of the distracted driving," said State Trooper Bill Pease.

State troopers responded to 280 accidents this weekend with one resulting in a fatality. In many cases, the accidents were caused due to people following too closely or were distracted.

"People looking out their cell phone’s because there’s a break in traffic. They just grab it for a second look down before they know it or not stopping in time," said Pease.

State Troopers received over 6,000 calls for service. They issued 529 speeding citations, 375 seatbelt violations, 37 distracted driving violations and made 18 DUI arrests.

"I’m a big proponent of the Uber app," said Pease. "If people are going out this weekend a $40 Uber ride is better than several thousand dollars for getting arrested for DWI."

The number one cause for accidents on I-95 is rear endings with distracted driving being a big reason why. It’s important to remember that it’s not only talking and texting on a cellphone that will get you in trouble. Using your phone as a GPS, driving with your knees, eating food or anything that causes you to take your eyes off the road counts as distracted driving. Doing so will land you a $250 ticket.

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