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Distracted Driver Campaign Begins Oct. 1

Texters, talkers—even diners—beware.

The Westport Police Department will conduct a “high visibility” distracted driving campaign from Oct. 1 through 15, it was announced today.

The campaign is being done in concert with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Defined as any activity that diverts attention from driving, distracted driving includes talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system, “anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving,” the announcement said.

“Texting is the most alarming distraction,” Lt. Anthony Prezioso said. “Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”

“You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention,” he added. “Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.”

According to the announcement, distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives in 2018, among them 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians and 77 bicyclists.

Fines for distracted driving start at $150 and can increase to as high as $1,000.00 depending on the operator’s driving history and the location of the offense.

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