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Connecticut Cracks Down on Distracted Driving

Irresponsible man writing and typing messages with cellphone in vehicle.

Distracted driving remains a serious problem in Connecticut.

According to a recent statement released by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), state officials are taking a tough stance and doing their part to end distracted driving accidents.

"We urge all drivers to prioritize safety by keeping their focus on the road and not on their phones. Every moment behind the wheel demands our full attention," Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto said in a recent statement. "This enforcement effort aims to remind everyone that distracted driving is illegal, dangerous, and deadly. Let's work together to make Connecticut's roads safer for everyone."

How common are distracted driving accidents?

Every 1 minute and 27 seconds, someone sustains an injury in an accident caused by a distracted driver. Those figures added up to 362,415 distracted driving injuries in 2021 nationwide, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) accident data cited by Connecticut DOT officials. An additional 3,522 people died in distracted driving accidents nationwide in 2021.

The NHTSA is spearheading a nationwide educational campaign in April about the dangers of distracted driving. Known as Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the goal of the nationwide program is to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, particularly before the busy summer driving season gets underway.

How bad is distracted driving in Connecticut?

Like the rest of the country, distracted drivers wreak havoc on Connecticut's roads. In 2021, according to the recent Connecticut DOT announcement, distracted drivers caused 5,600 accidents statewide, resulting in 850 injuries and nine traffic fatalities.

"Any time a driver engages in activities that take their eyes and attention off the road, they increase their risk of being involved in a collision," Interim Colonel Daniel Loughman, commanding officer of the Connecticut State Police, said in the recent statement released by the Connecticut DOT. "Reading text messages or checking a vehicle's GPS system reduces a driver's ability to recognize and appropriately respond to hazards in the roadway."

What is Connecticut doing to prevent distracted driving?

Earlier this month, the Connecticut DOT launched its "Put the Phone Away or Pay" campaign in conjunction with the NHTSA's nationwide National Distracted Driving Awareness Month educational campaign.

Connecticut's "Put the Phone Away or Pay" campaign takes a two-step approach – education and enforcement. The state is doing its part to educate drivers about the dangers of distracted driving. In addition, local and state police in Connecticut have increased enforcement of the state's distracted driving laws this month.

"Connecticut police are committed to ending the scourge of serious and deadly crashes caused by drivers distracted by their mobile devices," said Watertown Police Chief and Vice President of the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association Josh Bernegger. "We will be out in force issuing traffic tickets to distracted drivers. So please, put the phone away or pay."

What are Connecticut's distracted driving laws?

Connecticut has laws banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. According to Connecticut's cell phone law web page, drivers over 18 must use hands-free accessories to operate a cell phone while driving in Connecticut. Drivers aged 16 or 17 cannot use a cell phone while driving, even with hands-free accessories.

A driver violating this law can be fined $200 for the first offense. According to the Connecticut DOT website, the second offense carries a $375 fine, followed by a $625 fine for the third and all subsequent offenses.

Why should I hire a distracted driving accident attorney after a crash?

If a texting driver crashes into your car, you might not think you need to hire an attorney for help with your claim. After all, the other driver broke the state's distracted driving law, so everything is straightforward—right? However, obtaining the financial compensation you rightfully deserve can often be very challenging. This is because insurance companies are often more concerned with protecting their profits than paying crash victims the compensation they deserve for their medical bills and other accident-related expenses.

At Vishno Law Firm, we can help you level the playing field and protect your rights. We thoroughly understand how the civil justice system works in Connecticut, which is why we have such a strong track record of success in complex personal injury cases.

Get the Connecticut law firm you can count on when you've been injured due to negligence. Contact us and schedule a free case evaluation. Make an appointment at one of our two offices conveniently located in Fairfield and New Haven, Connecticut.

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