Connecticut saw a 45 percent increase in vehicle fatalities in the first half of 2016. That shocking statistic was cited recently by State Senator Tony Hwang, who believes that distracted driving, and particularly texting while driving, is a significant factor behind that increase.
Sen. Hwang, whose district includes Fairfield, Newtown and Westport, says that he's going to organize community forums to make drivers more aware of our state's laws involving distracted driving.
Connecticut law prohibits all drivers from using a hand-held phone or texting. The law also contains a more general prohibition against engaging non-driving related activities that can interfere with the ability to drive safely.
Younger drivers have greater restrictions. Those under 18 are prohibited from using any phone (hand-held or hands-free) or any other mobile device. School bus drivers are also prohibited from using a phone unless it's necessary in an emergency.
Even if distracted driving doesn't result in a crash, drivers who get caught breaking the law can pay a hefty fine and well as points on their driver's license. Fines range from $150 after the first offense to $500 if you're caught three or more times. Fines are doubled if you're texting or talking in a construction zone.
Of course, if you're involved in a crash in which someone is injured or killed, you could face serious criminal charges. If police determine that you were texting, talking on the phone or engaging in some other type of activity behind the wheel that caused you to become distracted, that's not going to help your case. If you're facing criminal charges related to a vehicle accident, it's essential to seek sound legal guidance.
Source: Fairfield-Sun, "Sen. Tony Hwang working to raise awareness of CT’s Distracted Driving Laws," Sep. 06, 2016