No sooner did cell phones become a widely used technology, than cell phone use while driving began to cause accidents and injuries on the highway. Connecticut was one of the first states to put restrictions on cell phone use while driving, passing a law in 2005 which limited use and imposed criminal penalties. However, many drivers in Connecticut still use their phones improperly while driving, even though it is illegal and dangerous.
Many still distracted while driving
Despite the well-publicized dangers of distracted driving, many on the road in Connecticut still engage in this risky behavior. A survey conducted by AAA found almost 35 percent of drivers texted while driving or were otherwise distracted while driving. Connecticut police report that nearly one in 20 drivers send or read text messages while driving. An Associated Press analysis of Connecticut enforcement of cell phone use while driving laws revealed that state and local police issued 29,690 citations for violating the law in 2011 alone.
Dangers of distracted driving
According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, a driver is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident if distracted while driving. The NTSA reports that almost 6,000 people die and another half million suffer injuries in auto accidents caused by a driver sending a text message or talking on a cell phone. While it may only take four seconds to send a text message, according to distraction.gov, a car going 55 miles per hour covers the length of a football field in that time - a driver who takes his or her eyes off the road to send a text can miss a lot in that short time.
Connecticut laws on distracted driving
Drivers in Connecticut need to use hands-free devices if they wish to make phone calls while driving. State law prohibits people from using hand-held mobile telephone devices, typing a text message, sending a text message or reading a text message while on public highways. Drivers under the age of 18 years of age may not even use hands-free technology to make telephone calls while driving. Drivers also may not engage in any activities that do not relate to operating their motor vehicles while driving. Violating this statute can result in a $125 fine for a first offense. The fines get more severe for repeat offenses.
Drivers risk more than just fines if they are distracted by a phone or while driving. If a driver causes an auto accident due to distracted driving, the driver may be liable for the injuries and damage resulting from the accident. Those injured in the accident may bring suit to recover compensation for their injuries caused by the distracted driver's negligence.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, do not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney with a proven track record of success in handling such matters.