WILTON, Conn. – As summer vacation comes to a close, the Wilton Police Department would like to remind the community that more vehicles will be utilizing our roads as children, teachers and others return to school. Once again, school buses will be traveling on main roads and in residential areas as they pick up and drop off students each day.
It is important that all of us remain conscious of our surroundings and avoid being distracted while driving.
Buses will be stopping and letting students on and off throughout town. When a bus stops and is displaying flashing red lights and an extended stop bar, we must come to a complete stop no matter which direction we are traveling. This also includes multiple lane roads such as Route 7. Failing to stop for a school bus under these circumstances can result in a fine of $465 for each offense.
Distracted driving has become a universal safety issue in every community. Effective Oct.1, the fine for driving and using a handheld cell phone is $125. A subsequent offense carries a fine of $250 and the fine is $400 for a third violation.
The increase in the penalty is obviously to create a deterrent to those who may utilize a cell phone while driving. However, education is always the first objective used to gain compliance with any motor vehicle law, in hopes that motorists will be more careful. Most important is the safety of those in your vehicle, other motorists and pedestrians using our roads. Joggers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other motorists have been seriously injured and killed as a result of motorists talking on their cell phones or texting.
For many years, law enforcement collaborated with community groups, such as MADD, to educate and promote seat-belt usage. We have not yet achieved 100 percent compliance but the percentage of those wearing seat belts in Wilton during a 2012 survey was 95 percent.
Obviously, we have a long way to go regarding distracted driving. However, we will continue to strive for overall increased safe driving habits in Wilton.
I wish each of you and your families a safe summer and a safe and happy return to a new school year.
Chief Michael Lombardo
Wilton Police Department