Distracted driving has a significant impact on auto accident injuries and fatalities. Like many states, Connecticut has taken legal steps to limit cellphone use and other distractions behind the wheel.
Protect yourself and others on the road with this review of Connecticut’s distracted driving regulations.
Phone use behind the wheel
Connecticut motorists can make phone calls only when in hands-free mode. You cannot hold a cellphone near your ear, which will cause law enforcement to presume you were on a call and issue a ticket.
You cannot text or otherwise engage in electronic communications on a smartphone or handheld electronic device while behind the wheel. This includes writing and sending emails as well as posting on or reading social media.
The law prohibits phone use while driving as well as when you have stopped in traffic, at a stop sign or at a red light. However, you may talk or text on your phone when stopped safely on the shoulder of the road.
Drivers who receive a ticket under Connecticut’s distracted driving law could receive fines of:
- $150 for a first violation
- $300 for a second violation
- $500 for any further violation
These tickets also add demerit points to your state driving record, which can eventually result in license suspension.
Exceptions to the law
The Connecticut law goes beyond phone use to ban other distracting activities, described as visual, manual or cognitive distractions. You can receive a fine for applying makeup or eating behind the wheel if it prevents you from driving safely.
Certain individuals can talk on the phone legally without a hands-free device. Examples include anyone contacting first responders during an emergency as well as military personnel and first responders on official duty.
Drivers younger than 18 cannot talk on the phone even with a hands-free device in Connecticut. The law also prohibits the use of these headsets by bus drivers.
If you have an accident with a distracted driver, you may have a claim for legal damages. The judge will review whether he or she broke any of these laws when the collision occurred.