As part of its continuing program to combat distracted driving, the U.S. Department of Transportation April 8 announced it is kicking off pilot programs in Hartford, Conn., and Syracuse, N.Y., to test whether increased law enforcement can get distracted drivers to reduce cell phone use on the road.
The pilot programs 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.
“Law enforcement will be out on the roads in Syracuse and Hartford with one simple message, if a driver is caught with a cell phone in one hand, they’ll end up with a ticket in the other,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “It’s time for drivers to act responsibly, put their hands on the wheel and focus on the road.”
High visibility enforcement is running in the Syracuse metropolitan area through April 17, while the crackdown in the Hartford metropolitan area will occur April 10-16. Subsequent enforcement in both states will take place throughout the course of the year-long program.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.