If you drive in Connecticut know that as of October 1st new laws will go into effect that will make it illegal to use a hand held device to engage in a call or text while operating a motor vehicle and while stopped at a traffic light.
Nationwide, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver while more than half a million were injured. In 2011 that number dropped to 3,331 people killed and 387,000 injured. The awareness of the problem has prompted many state legislatures to pass tougher distracted driving laws and Connecticut is leading the way with the following laws:
– Handheld ban for all drivers (Primary law)
– Ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers (Primary law)
– Ban on cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers (Primary Law)
– Ban on texting for all drivers (Primary Law)
Last week Connecticut Gov, Daniel P. Malloy signed into law House Bill 6033 to give the state’s distracted driving laws more teeth. The new laws will do the following:
– Establish a task force that will study and evaluate the state’s distracted driving laws and their enforcement, research what other states are doing about distracted driving and develop recommendations to prevent distracted driving.
– Raise distracted driving fines. First violations will increase from $135 to $150, a second from $250 to $300 and a third from $400 to $500.
– Change distracted driving citations to a moving violation, putting it on the list of serious traffic violations and assigning it points.
– Allow for the offense to now appear on the motor vehicle record of the driver and be available to car insurance companies to use when calculating rates for an insurance policy.