News Briefs
April 5, 2017

Police to drivers: Put your cell phone away or pay

From April 6 to April 10, 2017, The Rutland County Sheriff’s Department and other local Departments will be out in force looking for distracted drivers as part of the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. campaign, a high-visibility effort to enforce distracted-driving laws.
“Everyone knows texting and driving is illegal and dangerous, and everyone knows they shouldn’t be doing it—but we see it happen all the time,” said Lieutenant Kevin E. Geno. “Beginning April 6th, you will see stepped-up law enforcement efforts. Officers will be stopping and ticketing anyone who is caught texting and driving. If you text and drive, you will pay.”
Too many drivers are ignoring their responsibilities behind the wheel, and distracted driving is a growing and deadly threat on our roadways. Rutland County Law Enforcement Agencies are teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make sure all motorists keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
Violating Vermont’s distracted driving laws can be costly. The first violation for using a cellphone while driving is $162.00 and $230.00 with two points in a work zone.
According to NHTSA, 3,477 people were killed and an estimated 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2015. This is a 9-percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.
An analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety of 2009-2012 data found that while more than 80 percent of drivers believed it was completely unacceptable for a motorist to text behind the wheel, more than a third of those same drivers admitted to reading text messages while operating a passenger motor vehicle themselves.
“Do the right thing—put your phone away when you get behind the wheel. Save yourself the embarrassment and expense of getting pulled over—or more importantly, maybe save someone’s life,” said Lieutenant Kevin E. Geno. The Rutland County Sheriff’s Department, Brandon Police Department, Fair Haven Police Department, Rutland City Police Department, Castleton Police Department, Poultney Constable  and NHTSA urge you to put your phone down when you get behind the wheel. If you need to text, pull over and park your vehicle first.
No one likes to be criticized by a friend for doing something wrong, but it’s even worse to get caught by law enforcement and have to pay a fine.
Speak up. If your friends are texting while driving, tell them to stop. Listen to your passengers; if they catch you texting while driving and tell you to put your phone away, put it down.
“Texting while driving is dangerous, and getting caught can be expensive and embarrassing. Save face, your money, and maybe save a life—your text message can wait. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay,” state police said in a statement.

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