April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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DOVER, Del.– In honor of National Distracted Driving Awareness month, Delaware is participating in a national campaign cracking down on motorists' cellphone use throughout the month of April.

U Drive. U Text. U Pay. is a high-visibility enforcement campaign that combines enforcement of anti-texting laws with advertising and media outreach. The First State will join the fight from April 10 to 15.

In addition, police in several Delaware jurisdictions will expand their crackdown on handheld cell phone use from April 23 to 27. Participating agencies include Camden PD, Delaware City PD, Dover PD, Georgetown PD, Middletown PD, Milford PD, Millsboro PD, New Castle County PD, Newark PD, Wilmington PD, Wyoming PD and Delaware State Police.

In Delaware it is against the law to use a handheld device while driving. Since the law went into effect on Jan. 2, 2011, police in Delaware say they have issued more than 54,600 tickets to violators. As a reminder, drivers are required to use hands-free technology to use a cell phone while driving. The law also bans the use of pagers, BlackBerrys, PDAs, laptops, games and any other electronic devices while driving.

Officers in Delaware are allowed to pull drivers over for violating this law. First time offenders will be fined $106, while repeat offenders may have to pay up to $300.

Jana Simpler, the director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, points out just how dangerous it is to use a phone while driving.

“Texting and driving requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving,” she said. “It greatly enhances the likelihood of crashing and puts everyone on the road at risk.”

According to a recent report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distracted driving contributes to nearly 6 in 10 or 58% of vehicle crashes involving a teenaged driver.

The U Drive. U Text. U Pay. Campaign is a product of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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