For several decades now drivers in Connecticut have been hearing about the dangers of drunk driving. Transportation and government agencies have tracked accidents and fatalities attributed to drunk drivers in part to support strengthening the laws against drinking and driving. In the last 10 to 20 years, a new danger has emerged in the form of distracted driving.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 500,000 people suffered injuries in automobile crashes caused by drivers who were distracted in 2008. Another 6,000 people lost their lives in such accidents. While handheld use of cell phones has been highly targeted as a primary cause of distraction among drivers, the NHTSA points out that there are three types of distractions. Anything that takes a driver’s mind, hands or eyes off of the act of driving can be distracting and increase danger. Carnegie-Mellon indicates that drivers using cell phones are noted to experience a reduction in the ability to concentrate on driving by 37 percent.
The Connecticut Judicial Branch Law Libraries indicate that the state takes distracted driving seriously. The law actually bans handheld use of phones when on a public highway, even if stopped in traffic. An exception is allowed if a vehicle is safely parked on the shoulder of a roadway.
People who are found to violate the law can face financial penalties that increase in amount for second or third offenses. People who even hold a phone near their ears in such a way that officers believe they may be using it to make a call can be cited.