The New Canaan Police Department is cracking down on distracted driving in town.

In a recent press release, Chief Leon Krolikowski called distracted driving “the most significant threat to traffic safety we have seen in many years.”

Officers in marked and unmarked squad cars are looking for motorists who text or use a hand-held cell phone while driving.

“This ‘high-visibility enforcement’ is intended to increase compliance with distracted driving laws, reduce accidents, injuries and deaths,” Krolikowski wrote.

According to the release, 3,179 people were killed and another 431,000 were injured nationally in 2014 in crashes related to distracted driving.

Drivers who use hand-held devices, the release says, are four times more likely to get into serious accidents.

The campaign comes on the heels of the department’s Seatbelt Compliance Enforcement Campaign, which ran from May 23 to June 5.

Data gathered by New Canaan police before the initiative showed that 92 percent of drivers in town were using seat belts.

After June 5, the compliance rate went up to 93.5 percent, well above the state average of 85.4 percent.

justin.papp@scni.com; newcanaannewsonline.com