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Sen. Hwang Joins Fairfeld Police for Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Article as it appears on WTNH News8

Distracted driving can kill you and cost you money

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) – Dozens of drivers are now facing fines for distracted driving in Fairfield. Seven officers started searching for offenders at six Monday morning.

“In 3 hours, we issued 65 infractions in the town of Fairfield for distracted driving,” said Fairfield police chief Christopher Lyddy.

The Chief says thanks to some federal money, they are upping traffic enforcement for April – Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

State Sen.Tony Hwang (R) says, “all it takes is a fraction of a second for tragedy to occur.”

Spreading that message is what brought Tony Hwang, police, and AAA to the Fairfield police department on Monday morning.

Hwang, “we’re all guilty of it somehow someway and we all think it doesn’t happen to us.”

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found hands-free interactions can distract drivers for as long as 27 seconds after a conversation ends. Another study found the most distracting thing you can do is program your GPS.

Neil Chaudhary from Traffic Safety Research says, “it’s worse than texting. It’s worse than talking  on a handheld phone. If you need to program your GPS pullover.”

AAA’s Fran Mayko says, “anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, your mind off the task at hand is a problem.”

Not only is it dangerous, it can be expensive too.  Your first offense is $150. Second, is $300. Third time is $500.  The second time? $300. A third time will cost you $500.

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Sen. Tony Hwang Promotes Distracted Driving Awareness, To Host Forums in Fairfield, Newtown



State Senator Tony Hwang and Incoming CT DMV Commissioner Sibongile Magubane encourage you to drive safely, ignore your phone and #DontDriveIntexticated

State Senator Tony Hwang and Incoming CT DMV Commissioner Sibongile Magubane encourage you to drive safely, ignore your phone and #DontDriveIntexticated


HARTFORD — State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) joined AAA and law enforcement officials today at the Connecticut State Capitol to raise awareness about Distracted Driving Month, which began April 1st. Distracted driving has been on the rise, as cellular phones and motor vehicle technology continues to advance, and has been accompanied by an increase in preventable accidents and deaths. Senator Hwang joined the informational event in advance of two distracted driving forums he is hosting in Fairfield and Newtown at the end of the month.  The forum panelists will include local law enforcement, Neil Chaudhary, CEO of Preusser Research Group, and Mourning Parents ACT (!MPACT).

Nearly 58 percent of drivers say talking on a cellphone behind the wheel is a very serious threat to their personal safety, while 78 percent believe that texting is a significant danger. Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also has found potentially unsafe mental distractions can persist for as long as 27 seconds after drivers use voice-based technology to dial, change music or send a text message. At 25 mph, drivers travel the length of nearly three football fields during this time.

“Most of us are guilty of distracted driving because we naively think nothing dangerous will happen to us. Unfortunately, distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving,” said Sen. Hwang. “When you are not paying full attention to the road in front of you, there is a highly increased chance that you will have an accident as a result of either your own actions or the actions by another you are unable to avoid. We need to take this just as seriously as drunk and buzzed driving because they can lead to the same dangerous result. Our forum will raise awareness of this crucial issue, we hope we can encourage everyone to keep two hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road. Your phone and other distractions can wait.”

“Preusser Research Group has done extensive research in distracted driving for the Connecticut Highway Safety Office, the Highway Safety Offices in several other states, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway. This research has led us to realize the tenacity of the problem. Rates of distracted driving are stable or getting worse despite law enforcement efforts, strong laws and social norming programs. Our research also shows that this is not just a young driver problem but an all driver problem,” said Neil Chaudhary, CEO of Preusser Research Group, who studies traffic safety for the Transportation Research Board (TRB).

“Most drivers believe that if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel, then they’re focused on the drive,” says Fran Mayo of AAA Northeast. “But research proves there are hidden dangers when using a cell phone or in-vehicle technology. Mental distractions last longer than you think and can cause a dangerous crash. We as a society have created a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ culture on our roadways.  Drivers understand the risk, they just don’t think they are the problem. With more than 3,400 people killed in distracted driving crashes each year, it’s time for drivers to be accountable. We can save lives.”

Senator Hwang’s Distracted Driving forums are taking place on April 25th in Newtown and April 30th in Fairfield. You can find more information at the Events page on Senator Hwang’s website or follow this link.

State Senator Tony Hwang represents Connecticut’s 28th senate district including the towns of Fairfield, Westport, Weston, Easton, Newtown & Sandy Hook.


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