Distracted Driving is No Accident
In 2016, a New York City nonprofit, Transportation Alternatives and Families for Safe Streets, created a hashtag campaign “Crash, Not Accident” or #crashnotaccident. The word “accident” has been used reflexively and it’s no coincidence. Dating back to the industrial revolution, manufacturing juggernauts encouraged the word “accident” to be used by newspaper journalists when reporting a death in a factory which more than likely was caused by disrepair, fatigued employees, and other unsafe conditions.
The word “accident” caught on and was then used in the boom of the 1920s in order to prevent the fear of riding in cars, and thus the word “car accident” became popular.
A Car Accident Is Not An Accident – It Is Negligence
As we now know, most “accidents” are not accidents; they are acts of negligent driving habits and distracted driving happens to be the #1 cause of car crashes in the United States.
Most automobile accidents can be prevented, simply by not texting, eating, grooming, or other behaviors which take a driver’s eyes off the road. At The Flood Law Firm, we have no tolerance for distracted driving. If you or someone you know has been in a car crash with a driver who was texting or otherwise distracted, you can learn your right by speaking with a lawyer who knows the law and can reliably inform you of your actionable rights.
Cracking Down on Drivers using Their Phones in Connecticut
We are proud to report that more than 49 Connecticut police departments participated in a campaign to bring awareness to and stop the dangers of distracted driving – particularly, the dangers of cell phone use.
The campaign, “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” originated back in April 2017 when 12,000 citations were issued statewide. The campaign appears to have been successful, with the Connecticut Department of Transportation noting a 17 percent drop in mobile phone usage at various police checkpoints.
Unfortunately, Captain Ronald Smith of the Hamden Police Department stated, “What I do see is time goes on and people are still disobeying the law.” There’s an obvious need for this campaign to continue to further reduce distracted driving accidents.
Connecticut Texting Laws
Texting and driving in Connecticut is strictly prohibited. There are specific exceptions to the rule only in the extreme case of an emergency. Otherwise, typing, sending or reading a text message with a hand-held mobile telephone or mobile electronic device is illegal. The law is in place because using a cell phone while driving significantly impairs your ability to safely operate the vehicle, putting your life and those around you on the road at risk.
Ticket Fines for Texting or Talking while Driving in CT
Grant money has been used to help fund the campaign, allowing departments to pay for extra patrols needed to catch violators. The setup is simple, but effective: an officer (often not dressed in uniform) parks in a discreet location and alerts other nearby officers of distracted driving, who then pursue the driver and issue the citation. These citations are accompanied with heavy fines, including:
- $150 – First-time offenders
- $300 – Second-time offenders
- $500 – Third-time offenders and beyond
The rules are different for distracted teenage drivers. For example, if a teenage driver is ticketed for using a cell phone or texting while driving, the penalties include:
- 30-day license suspension and $125 license restoration fee, plus court fines – First-time offenders
- Six-month suspension (or until driver reaches the age of 18, whichever is longer) and $125 license restoration fee, plus court fines – Second-time offenders and beyond
Connecticut’s Cell Phone Law
Drivers in Connecticut may not use cell phones in any capacity while driving. If a driver is seen with a cell phone close to his or her ear, an officer will assume a call is taking place and can ticket you.
Again, there are exceptions for emergencies, as well as options for talking while driving, such as:
- Speaker phone
- Bluetooth wireless device
- Wired headset
- Installation of a car kit
All teen drivers in the State of Connecticut (those younger than 18-years-old) are prohibited from all cell phone usage, even if the device is hands-free.
Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys
In 2015, 3,477 people were killed in crashes that involved distracted drivers, with another 391,000 reportedly injured (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). To put it into perspective, you are 23 times more likely to crash when you choose to text while driving.
Distracted driving and the loss of precious lives it causes should and can be prevented. If you or someone you know has been in a crash due to distracted driving, you may contact The Flood Law Firm at no charge to have any questions answered in a confidential phone call at (860) 346-2695.