Several states in the Northeast, including Connecticut as well as neighboring New York and Rhode Island, have moved to ban use of handheld devices while driving to help reduce the risks associated with distracted driving.
However, the National Safety Council have reported on a study that has found hands-free devices still constitute a significant threat when it comes to driver distraction.
Risks of Hands-Free Distracted Driving Accidents
While devices such as headsets may free up a driver's hands, cognitive distraction is the true threat when it comes to drivers talking on the phone. In fact, the NSC found voice texting was actually more distracting than manual texting. Its message to the driving public this summer: Hands-Free is not Risk-Free.
The agency points to a pair of statistics to illustrate the risk. Ninety-four percent of car crashes are caused by driver error. And the cognitive distraction of talking on the phone, even with a hands-free device, causes drivers to miss one-third of moving images and half of what is occurring outside the windshield.
Distracted Driving Accident Liability in Connecticut
Connecticut's distracted driving law prohibits underage drivers from using all cell phones or mobile electronic devices while driving. But no state in the nation bans hands-free use by all drivers. Nor does Connecticut law recognize in-vehicle electronics as distractions under the law, stating:
"A mobile electronic device does not include audio equipment or any equipment installed in the vehicle to provide navigation, emergency, or other assistance to the driver or video entertainment to passengers in the vehicle’s rear seats."
However, while violation of a traffic law may assist injury victims in proving negligence on the part of an at-fault driver, it is not required to pursue a claim of civil liability via a car accident lawsuit. The law for negligence actions can be found under Connecticut General Statutes Section 52-572h, which also governs proportioning of fault in the event two or more responsible parties were involved.
As in most other states, proving negligence in Connecticut requires plaintiff to prove 5 elements: Duty of care, breach of duty, causation, proximate cause and damages. What this means, in general terms, is that a victim's injury attorney must show that a defendant owed a duty of care (to drive safely), that defendant breached that duty, that the breach was proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries, and that plaintiff suffered actual damages. Distracted driving constitutes of breach of duty of care even if the distraction was a legal hands-free device.
Determining damages is another important part of your case, best left to an experienced law firm. Damages can include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and the cost of rehabilitation. In the event of an accident caused by distracted driving, contact Vishno Law Firm.