CT police crackdown on use of cell phones while driving

22News went out with police as they looked for drivers talking on their phones

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ENFIELD, CT (WWLP/AP) – Just over the state line, Connecticut police are pulling more people over for using their cell phones while driving.

Connecticut is using a $2.3 million grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to pay for the enforcement effort, which will run through this month. State and local police in Connecticut are cracking down on distracted drivers this month as part of the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” Initiative.

Sgt. Mark Squires, of the Enfield Police Department‘s Traffic Division told 22News, “Cell phone use. Using other handheld electronic devices in your car, or even eating in your vehicle. So we’ll be out there throughout the days and nights enforcing those laws.”

In Massachusetts, aside from novice or bus drivers, you can talk on your cell phone while driving, but you cannot text and drive. Since 2008 any cell phone use while driving in Connecticut is illegal unless you have a hands free device.

Police say often times when people are distracted driving it contributes to them speeding. And when they measure your speed with certain tools like this laser, they can observe your actions as you become closer to them.

Violators face fines of $150 for a first offense, $300 for a second, and $500 for any additional charges.

Diane Hoffman, of Newington, Connecticut said she’s seen what distracted driving can do, “We’ve had people cut us off, we’ve had people go into the gutters themselves, and I just really really think they ought to be tough on these people.”

Massachusetts residents that travel over the state line say the difference in laws regarding cell phone use is something they need to be conscious of.

Tom Morrill said, “I live in East Longmeadow so I often commute to Enfield so going over the state line I have to be careful with my phone and make sure I’m not talking on it you know visibly to police officers. You know I don’t want to get pulled over for that.”

Click here for Connecticut laws regarding the use of cell phones while driving.

Click here for Massachusetts laws regarding the use of cell phones while driving.

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