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DOT: Greater enforcement yields less distracted driving

Posted On Tue, July 12, 2011

Several communities have increased law enforcement presence on roadways in an attempt to curb distracted driving in certain parts of the country, and based on initial reports, it's paid dividends.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Syracuse, New York, and Hartford, Connecticut, police officers reported less instances of distracted driving after stepping up distracted driving awareness.

For instance, In Syracuse, when there was a higher police presence on the city's roadways, cell phone use dropped by one-third. Meanwhile, in Connecticut, the rate of cell phone use fell by 57 percent when police officers heightened driver distraction enforcement.

All told, Syracuse and Hartford police issued more than 19,200 traffic citations for distracted driving in the past year, according to the NHTSA.

"These findings show that strong laws, combined with highly-visible police enforcement, can significantly reduce dangerous texting and cell phone use behind the wheel," said Ray LaHood secretary for the Department of Transportation. "Based on these results, it is crystal clear that those who try to minimize this dangerous behavior are making a serious error in judgment."

Being served a citation for distracted driving can wind up costing motorists financially as well, as any cheap auto insurance rates they may have been paying can increase with one ticket. 

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