CTDOT observes Distracted Driving Awareness Month with new campaigns

Katie Coen, Executive Producer

In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) introduced numerous campaigns.

Distracted driving has become a large problem in the state, and the spokesperson for the CTDOT Josh Morgan, stresses the danger of this act. 

“People should not be texting and driving,” Morgan said. “They should not be driving distracted so we need to get those numbers down to keep people safe.”

CTDOT is bringing back a federal campaign titled, “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” this year. It’s used by states across the country trying to limit the amount of texting and driving by explaining the serious consequences.

“If you are distracted on Connecticut roadways, you are going to get a ticket, and like I said, those fines are not just a couple of bucks, they’re hundreds of dollars,” Morgan said.

Students at Quinnipiac University admit to using their phones while driving sometimes, mostly for music. This includes second-year student Joseph Aikin.

“Two or three times while driving I definitely catch myself looking at my phone when I’m not supposed to,” Aikins said.

Second-year student Omar Saad also gets distracted by his music.

“Sometimes I’ll check my phone very quickly if I’m feeling a song and I want to queue it up,” Saad said.

CTDOT wants students to understand the dangers of getting distracted. 

“There’s a certain feeling of invincibility when people are younger,” Morgan said. “A certain thought that maybe taking a risk or this isn’t going to happen to me mentality which is just incredibly dangerous.”

Distracted driving is not the only campaign CTDOT is working on. April is also Work on Safety Awareness Month. Beginning on April 10, work speed safety cameras are being placed in construction zones on highways across the state.

“For a lot of people, our construction workers, our maintenance workers, our contractors, that’s their job,” Morgan said. “That’s where they go to work every day and every night, and we need to make sure that they get home safely at the end of their shift. So we need people to slow down as they’re driving through work zones.”

This is the first time automated speed enforcements will be used on highways in Connecticut.

Morgan believes these two campaigns work together to spread a core message.

“All these campaigns are interconnected,” Morgan said. “We need people to slow down. We need people to pay attention. Put the distractions away and drive sober.”