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The West Fargo Police Department is joining law enforcement agencies nationwide in the Connect to Disconnect program to remind drivers about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving. Connect to Disconnect is a special enforcement operation coordinated by State Highway Safety Offices and law enforcement agencies across the country.
The initiative will take place throughout the month of April. Officers will ticket drivers for violating their local jurisdiction’s cellphone or texting ban. In North Dakota, text messaging while driving is prohibited. Further, any driver that commits a traffic violation while distracted can be given a distracted driving citation. These carry a $100 fine. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using any electronic communication device and can be fined $20 and lose points on their driver record. This annual campaign is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) U Drive. U Text. U Pay. high-visibility enforcement effort.
According to NHTSA, between 2012 and 2019, 26,004 people died from crashes involving a distracted driver. While fatalities from motor vehicle crashes decreased slightly from 2018, distraction-related fatalities increased by 10%.
“Distracted driving is a growing habit that puts all of us at risk,” said Assistant Chief Pete Nielsen. “We are asking drivers to keep their eyes on the road and put away the distractions.”
The West Fargo Police Department and NHTSA urge drivers to put their phones away when behind the wheel. If you are the driver, follow these steps for a safe driving experience:
Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal. No text or post is worth reckless driving — or taking a life. Remember: U Drive. U Text. U Pay. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/campaign/distracted-driving.