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Police: Most Comply With Cell Phone Ban

By Jennifer Connic

After a two week grace period, Westport police handed out 27 tickets in the final two weeks of October for those who were using their cellular phones while driving, according to police officials.

A new state law went into effect on Oct. 1 that required those using a cell phone while they drive to use a hand-free device, like a headset, otherwise face a ticket and fine.

First-time offenders, however, could avoid the fine if they showed a judge they had bought a hands-free device.

Sgt. Jerry Shannon, police public information officer, said in addition to the 27 tickets, police handed out a number of written warnings, but records are not kept on the number of warnings.

Shannon said he has noticed more people pulling over to talk on the phone.

“Every day, there are people outside (police headquarters) parked and talking on the phone,” he said. “I’ve noticed people are using their hands-free devices as well.”

Police publicized the new law well, Shannon said, which is why he believes larger numbers of tickets were not issued.

“Plus we’re not out to just arrest as many people as he can,” he said. “Some are not complying, but it seems the majority of people are complying with the law.”

People still run red lights, which is against the law, he said, so he’s sure people will not obey the cell phone law in similar fashion no matter what police do.

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