A lot of people don’t know it, but distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents.
In Connecticut alone, there were nearly 5,000 crashes in 2020 due to the driver getting distracted.
So as you can see, distracted driving is a very serious issue.
This is why the State of Connecticut implements strict distracted driving laws.
And this is why, today, we’re going to tell you what these laws are. Plus, we’ll also talk about the penalties and much more.
So here is everything you should know about the Connecticut distracted driving laws of 2023.
What is Distracted Driving?
Before we get into the actual laws, it’s a good idea to know what exactly distracted driving is.
Distracted driving is a scenario wherein you, as the driver, are distracted from doing one or all of the following:
- Keep your eyes on the road ahead.
- Hold the steering wheel.
- Focus on the road and your driving.
In other words, distracted driving occurs when you are engaged in other activities unrelated to driving.
Distracted Driving Laws in Connecticut
Because the number 1 distraction is the use of a cellphone, the laws focus on that device.
That said, here are the distracted driving laws in Connecticut:
No one is allowed to use any hand-held electronic device while driving or waiting at the stoplight. You are also not allowed to use these even when there is a road condition or a temporary stop in traffic.
You are only allowed to use it if you are parked.
However, those 18 years old and above may use a hands-free electronic device (i.e. a mobile device mounted on the dashboard).
But we said only for 18 years old and above!
16 or 17 years old are NOT allowed to use any hands-free device.
As with any law, there are a few exceptions. These include:
- When you are in an emergency and you need to contact the police, 911, or any emergency assistance
- When you are a peace officer, police officer, firefighter, or any road assistance professional
Penalties for Distracted Driving in Connecticut
Distracted driving laws in Connecticut are primary enforcements.
What this means is that a traffic enforcer can stop and ticket you if you are seen using a mobile device while behind the wheel.
The consequences are fine penalties and demerit points.
Here is a summary of the penalties:
- A first offense for 18 years old and older – $150 fine
- A second offense for 18 years old and older – $300 fine
- A third offense for 18 years old and older – $ 500 fine
And for each violation, you receive 2 demerit points to your record. Note: it takes 10 points to get your license suspended for 30 days.
As for 16 and 17-year-olds who violate CT distracted driving laws, you will be given a moving violation and may face a driver’s license suspension (on top of the fines and points).
No matter your age, if, in any case, an accident is caused by your distracted driving, the police may charge you with a criminal violation. This depends on the gravity of the scenario.
Other Distracted Driving Scenarios to Avoid
Although cellphone use is the only distracted driving put to law, there are other scenarios you should avoid at all costs.
We say this because these scenarios also distract you and make it dangerous for you and everyone around you.
Here are the other distracted driving scenarios to avoid though it is not a law:
- Adjusting the radio, audio controls, and other devices in the car
- Eating or drinking
- Picking up an object that fell to the floor
- Getting an object from the back seat or the passenger seat
- Reading maps
- Grooming (e.g., putting on makeup, shaving, combing, and cutting nails)
There are also instances where you can be distracted by something happening outside your vehicle.
Here are some examples of distractions that happen outside of your vehicle:
- An accident or a crash nearby
- Police or medical professionals attending to an accident
- Light (e.g., sunlight, sunset, very bright headlights)
- Objects that are blocking the way
- Advertisements found on billboards, bus stops, and other cars
Of course, avoiding all these distractions is easier said than done. So here are some tips that can help you avoid getting distracted:
- Stop at a parking lot or side of the road if you need to eat, drink, text, or call
- Postpone arguments to when you are already parked
- Secure pets and babies with the appropriate car seat
- Mount a hands-free setup for your electronic device if needed
- Avoid talking with people inside the car to prevent them from looking away from the road
Frequently Asked Questions on Connecticut Distracted Driving Laws
Okay, now that you know the laws, the penalties, and other scenarios to avoid, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
Is it illegal to eat and drive in Connecticut?
No, it is not illegal. However, it should be avoided as it can distract you from the task at hand. So though it doesn’t come with any penalties, it could lead to a crash (which is much worse).
Can you text at a red light in Connecticut?
No. Texting at a red light is still illegal in Connecticut. You are only allowed to hold your hand-held electronic device if you are parked at the side of the road or in a parking lot.
How many points is a cell phone ticket in Connecticut?
2 points are added for every offense committed under the Connecticut distracted driving law. You will also be fined depending on the number of violations you’ve had.
Distracted driving is a very serious issue.
This is why Connecticut makes sure to punish anyone that disobeys the law.
And though the law is only focused on cellphone use, it’s important to avoid other distractions, too. I mean, a crash is far worse than having to pay a fine.
In any case, remember to focus on the road, hold the steering wheel, and focus on your driving.