Per a recent report, approximately 14,000 distracted driving citations were issued in Connecticut during Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April. Connecticut law prohibits motorists from operating a vehicle while using a mobile device. That includes making phone calls and sending/reading text or e-mail messages. Police presume that you’re making a call if the device is close to your ear. The penalties are $150, $300, and $500 for a first, second, or subsequent offense, respectively. Young drivers and commercial drivers face harsher penalties and greater restrictions. To see a chart of state distracted driving laws, click on the link here.
Connecticut juries routinely conclude that distracted drivers are negligent for the accidents they cause. A jury may also conclude that the driver acted recklessly if the distraction was a substantial factor in causing the accident. If so, the injured party may recover 2x or 3x his/her economic and non-economic damages. The goal is to send a zero-tolerance message to the public and make our roads safer.
On a final note, legislators across the country have started to look at the problem of “distracted walkers.” For example, this October the Honolulu Police Department will start enforcing a law prohibiting distracted pedestrians from crossing the street. The law is not limited to cellphone users. It also includes those using laptops, digital cameras or video games. First-time violators will be fined a nominal amount. A third-time offender could be fined as much as $99 for the violation. A similar law was implemented in Fort Lee, New Jersey a few years ago.
Contact us today if you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver or walker. We will provide a free consultation and review any documents that you have, including medical records, insurance paperwork and the police report concerning the accident.