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17 Oct

Sneaking a Peek

It could be sign of what is to come in other states, but texting while driving just got even more expensive for those who get caught.

Motorists in Connecticut and Massachusetts may want to keep their eyes peeled for police spotters—not just hiding behind bushes and perched on the median strip—but for cops who are now going to be lurking on overpasses. They’ll be looking for people who are texting while driving.

Both of those states have been given a total of $550,000 in grants (each state gets $275,000) from the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced, “to help them plan and conduct high-visibility anti-texting enforcement programs.” 

Police officers are being trained in methods to better spot text offenders in action as well as in how to develop awareness campaigns that alert the public to the hazards of texting and driving. Funds will aid with developing anti-texting enforcement protocols and techniques like using stationary patrols, spotters on overpasses on elevated roadways, and roving patrols, noted Ray LaHood in his Fast Lane blog on fastlane.dot.gov.

The methods will be evaluated in four successive waves of high-visibility enforcement activities during a two-year period. Results will then be shared other states.

 “I look forward to seeing the results of the new enforcement programs announced today as we work to put an end to this deadly behavior,” LaHood noted, adding that the DOT has been tackling the issue for more than three years, but still has much work to be done.

Presently, there are 39 states (including Connecticut and Massachusetts) that have passed laws that ban texting while driving. Hand-hell cell phone use while driving has been banned in 10 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia.)

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