The enforcement campaigns, dubbed "Phone in One Hand. Ticket in the Other," are the first federally funded efforts in the country to focus on the effects of increased enforcement and public advertising on reducing distracted driving. Drivers caught texting or talking on a hand-held cell phone will be pulled over and ticketed.
"It's time for drivers to act responsibly, put their hands on the wheel and focus on the road," said LaHood.
From April 8 to 17, high visibility enforcement will begin in the Syracuse metropolitan area, while the crackdown in the Hartford metropolitan area will begin on April 10 through 16. Subsequent enforcement waves in both states will take place throughout the course of the year-long program.
Each pilot program is supported by $200,000 in federal funds and matched by $100,000 from the state. Researchers will study changes in attitudes and behavior from beginning to end, and the results will serve as a model for employing high visibility enforcement, education and outreach to reduce distracted driving behaviors in other cities and states across the country.
For more information about the DOT's efforts to combat distracted driving, visit www.distraction.gov.