Connecticut put distracted driving laws into effect in 2006, which made it one of the first states to do that. Back then, the state banned all drivers from using hand-held cell phones and texting while driving. Since then, several changes to the distracted driving laws have been made, making them tougher and proposing more severe penalties for those violating them. However, since these changes haven’t done much to help reduce distracted driving accidents and improve traffic safety, legislators have continued working on improving and toughening the laws in order to make drivers keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel and avoid distractions.
As of October 1st, 2013, distracted driving laws in Connecticut became even stricter, adding demerit points and higher fines to the set of penalties. Distracted driving has now become a moving violation, which makes it a serious traffic violation. Prior to October 1st, driver’s weren’t getting demerit points to their licenses for violating distracted driving laws, but now, everyone who is convicted of distracted driving will receive one or two points, depending on where they have committed the violation.
If you get convicted for distracted driving in a highway work zone, two points will be added to your license. You receive one point for distracted driving in areas other than highway work zones. These points will stay on your license for two years, and if you receive more than 10 points within 2 years, your license will be suspended.
Furthermore, if you are convicted of driving over 75 mph in a work zone, you will have to complete an operator retraining program. This applies to commercial drivers convicted of driving over 65 mph, as well. In addition to that, every knowledge test will include questions on highway work zone safety and driver responsibility, as well as a question on cell phone use bans, which should raise drivers’ awareness of the dangers of distracted driving and make them drive more carefully.
As far as fines are concerned, they have been increased, bringing the texting and hand-held cell phone use ban for first time offenders to $150. Second-time offenders will have to pay $300, and the fine for third-time offenders has been increased to $500. These are pretty severe fines and should help deter drivers from driving while doing other activities that reduce their attention. High fines have always been one of the most effective measures for preventing people from violating the laws. Before these changes were made, the fine for all offenses used to be $100.
One of the most significant changes to the Connecticut distracted driving laws is that car insurance companies will now be able to take distracted driving violations and demerit points into consideration when determining insurance premiums.
Lastly, the new laws make it illegal for drivers to use their cell phones while their vehicles are not moving, meaning that you can’t compose, send, or read a text message you are at a red light. These new laws have made Connecticut one of the harshest states when it comes to the enforcement of distracted driving laws, and legislators are hoping that they will contribute to reducing the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers.