Police: distracted driving tops home break-ins

As summer vacation looms, Milford Police state that distracted driving is more of an area, and a statewide problem, than that of area home break-ins.

“Obviously, we urge citizens to lock their homes and their vehicles,” said Captain Craig Frye. “It’s not normal, but often smaller crimes don’t get reported. People will notice, and say, ‘I thought I had change in that cup in my car,’ and then it’s missing but doesn’t get reported. Then perhaps a larger item gets stolen from their vehicle, such as a radar detector or a tablet. And when that’s reported, we’ll ask that question, and they tell us.”

Frye said there are no trends that indicate crooks often return to the scene of the crime.

“No, normally in our town, we do not typically have repeat victims,” he said.

Frye said the biggest problem facing police is the rise in cell phone use by drivers.

“When the law first came out, there was a big push, and people stopped using their phones while driving,” said he said. “But as time has gone on, it seems that people have become more relaxed. And it’s more common place. We’re seeing more and more second and third offenders – the first fine is $124. And when you think about it, the cost of a bluetooth device is cheaper than the fine itself.”

Statewide, Frye warns that cell phone use is the leading cause of motor vehicle crashes, and police are stepping up their vigilance. (Compared to 2017, two years after the initial hands-free law went into effect, when NH State police reported a steep decline in fatalities related to distracted driving.)

New Hampshire’s distracted driving law makes it illegal for all motorists to drive while using a handheld mobile electronic device to read, compose, view or post an electronic message; initiate, receive or conduct a call; initiate or request access to the internet; input information into a GPS or navigation system; or manually type data.