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Pay Attention While Driving – Or Pay the Price

Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Distracted Drivers Targeted in April

Washington, DC - The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is focusing on distracted drivers during the month of April, using a combination of traditional and innovative strategies to crack down on motorists who text and use cell phones while driving.

April is Distracted Driving Month. As part of the National U Drive U Text U Pay campaign, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is promoting a high-visibility enforcement campaign. It includes periods of intense MPD enforcement of DC’s hands free while driving law combined with transit and radio advertising to heighten awareness of the law and dangers of distracted driving.

“Drivers need to know we're serious about stopping this deadly behavior,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier. “Cell phone use and texting in particular while driving is an epidemic, and enforcement of our laws is part of the cure.”

In 2004, the District of Columbia began restricting mobile phone usage while driving. It's illegal to use a mobile phone or other electronic device while driving in the District, unless it is equipped with a hands-free accessory. The penalty for violators is $100 fine.

“When you text while driving, you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. That’s brainless driving. It’s sad that drivers are willing to risk a ticket or a deadly crash over a text or phone call.” said DDOT Director Terry Bellamy.

In 2012, there were 3,328 people killed and 421,000 injured nationwide in distraction-affected crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Research from the National Transportation Safety Board showed that drivers using hand-held devices are four times more likely to get into a serious crash.

Distracted driving happens anytime you take your hands off the wheel, take your eyes off the road or take your mind off driving. For more information, please visit www.distraction.gov.