September 1, 2020
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Connecticut police departments have been cracking down on distracted drivers this August with an uptick in enforcement efforts on the road. According to a press release published by Patch, Fairfield Police, Connecticut State Police, and municipal and state elected officials gathered earlier this month at the Fairfield Police Department to support the U Drive. U Text. U Pay. initiative. In partnership with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (N.H.T.S.A.) National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the safety campaign aims to reduce preventable traffic accidents caused by distracted driving by heavily enforcing the laws that hold drivers accountable for reckless behaviors.

Fairfield County officers will continue to progress efforts through August 31 to catch distracted and texting drivers before their actions lead to a crash. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more residents than ever are taking walks and exercising outdoors. Drivers who are not remaining vigilant to pedestrians could easily cause a fatal crash if distracted by something else behind the wheel.

Distracted driving accidents are 100 percent preventable, and it only takes a few seconds for a driver’s attention to lead to tragedy on the road. As safety advocates, our team at Jacobs & Wallace is in full support of preventing driving distractions that lead to catastrophic and fatal traffic accidents. All Connecticut motorists are responsible for reducing preventable harm to others on the road.

Distracted Driving Kills Every Day

The N.H.T.S.A. reported over 400,000 injuries and 2,841 deaths resulting from distracted driving accidents in 2018. Among the fatalities were 1,730 drivers, 605 passengers, 400 pedestrians, and 77 bicyclists.

Distracted driving is defined as any item or action that takes a driver’s attention off the road, including, but is certainly not limited to, the following:

  • Texting or talking on the phone
  • Talking to a passenger
  • Fixing your hair or makeup
  • Eating, drinking, or smoking
  • Changing the station on your radio
  • Reaching for something in the front or back seat
  • Watching something going on outside of your vehicle

When a driver takes their attention off the road critical road hazards can be missed. Pedestrians on sidewalks, bicycles, motorcycles, or other vehicles can all become targets when a distracted driver looks away from the road.

Cellphone Laws in CT

Approximately 1 in 4 distracted driving accidents nationwide involve the use of cellphones behind the wheel. Connecticut State Law bans the use of all handheld cellphones while operating a motor vehicle, regardless of age or level of driving experience. If a driver is caught with a cellphone in their hand or to their ear, this is considered a violation of the law.

Penalties for getting caught on your cellphone while driving in Connecticut include:

  • $150 fine for the first offense
  • $300 fine for the second offense
  • $500 fine for the third offense

These fines may include the accumulation of points which could ultimately result in a driver losing their license. Drivers whose cellphone behaviors lead to an accident resulting in an injury or death could also face criminal charges in addition to fines and points.

Drive Safe or Not At All

Fairfield and Connecticut State Police are urging drivers to safely operate their vehicles to help prevent distracted driving accidents in their community. With the start of school in Connecticut less than two weeks away, it’s more important than ever to stay alert and pay attention to the road.

Fairfield Police provide the following safety recommendations that all drivers should keep in mind before getting behind the wheel:

  • Never text and drive. Texting and driving is an unnecessary risk that puts everyone on or near the road at risk.
  • Listen to your passengers. If someone tells you to stop texting and driving, listen. It’s a lot more expensive if law enforcement officers are the ones who have to tell you.
  • Be a leader. Show your family and friends how to drive safely by reducing distractions inside the vehicle. Turn down the music, limit distracting noises, and lock up your phone before getting behind the wheel.
  • Speak up. If you see someone texting while driving, say something. It may be uncomfortable to speak up, but it’s a lot safer than waiting for an accident.

Get involved in your community to help end distracted driving. Teens, parents, educators, and employers can all do their part to help. For more information on how to get involved, visit the N.H.T.S.A. Distracted Driving page for resources.

Connecticut Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys

Distracted driving is an epidemic in our country that has worsened over the past few years. There is no excuse for participating in distractions while driving that are known to take others’ lives.

As Connecticut personal injury experts, we always have your best interests and safety in mind. Our aggressive attorneys at Jacobs & Wallace will help you fight back by providing a free case evaluation to explore all your options for seeking justice against reckless distracted drivers. Contact us today for a free consultation and to explore your rights for justice.

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