Connecticut drivers adjust to new distracted driving law

Last summer, the Governor of Connecticut signed off on a bill that become effective in October 2013 to help curtail instances of distracted driving around the state. Every state has its own laws regarding the use of cell phones or other such devices and 2014 marks the first full calendar year with stricter legislation in place for drivers in Connecticut. The goal is plain and simple-to reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents.

Data released by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute corroborate the serious nature of distracted driving. For example, a vehicle moving along at 55 miles per hour could easily move the length of a full-sized football field in the same length of time that an average person takes to read or send one average text message. The Institute asserts that when a driver's eyes are averted from the road to a cell phone, the reality is akin to driving with a blindfold on for that period of time.

Parameters of the new law

The laws and associated fines for distracted driving were extended with the recent legislation. Some of the details of the new law include:

  • Any and all use of DVD players or video games is strictly prohibited by any driver at any time.
  • No driver 17 years of age or under may use a cell phone under any circumstances when behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
  • No driver is allowed handheld use of a cell phone for the purpose of receiving or initiating calls.
  • Texting is banned at all times for all drivers.
  • The use of cell phones is not allowed for school bus drivers in any circumstance.

The law also details penalties such as fines, which have increased over prior fines. People with no prior offenses can expect to pay $150 for a ticket while the fine for anyone cited for a second offense will double to $300. Third or beyond offenses carry a $500 fine.

Additionally, the state can report any citation issued for distracted driving to insurers, opening the door for insurance rates to increase as a result.

Distracted driving and collisions

Distracted driving should be thought of as any activity which takes a driver's eyes away from the road when operating a motor vehicle. Any time that this takes place, the opportunity for a car accident to happen increases.

If you are involved in an accident and believe that the distraction of another driver was a factor, you should consider discussing your situation with a lawyer who has experience in this area of law. Making sure that you and anyone else involved receives the right compensation is important.