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What are Connecticut’s distracted driving laws?

Connecticut has several laws concerning distracted driving, some of which specifically address young drivers.

In 2015, there were more than 20 accidents every day in the state of Connecticut associated with distracted driving. According to WTNH, 2015 saw more than 7,000 such incidents, involving distractions ranging from cellphone use to changing the radio station.

Some activities, such as eating behind the wheel, are not regulated. However, Connecticut does have laws in place addressing one of the most common distractions: talking or texting on the phone.

What the law says

Most states or municipalities have a guideline that restricts or prohibits some type of phone use. Often, these laws include whether or not a driver can use a handheld or a hands-free device. While hands-free technology is intended to reduce the risk of cellphone use behind the wheel, studies show that it can be just as dangerous as actually holding a phone.

With that in mind, Connecticut regulations address both factors. The state's laws include the following:

  • No driver is permitted to use a handheld device or text while driving.
  • Novice drivers - or those younger than 18 or with a learner's permit - may not use a handheld or hands-free device.
  • Bus drivers may not use a handheld or hands-free device.

According to the law, even drivers whose vehicles are stopped at a traffic signal or sign are prohibited from these behaviors. Engaging in them could result in a fine, or worse, an accident.

Young drivers and distractions

Connecticut's laws are especially strict when it comes to younger drivers, and for good reason. Distraction.gov points out that younger drivers may be more likely to engage in distracted driving behaviors than anyone else. This is especially disturbing when looking at the statistics. Of all the drivers between 15 and 19 who were a part of a deadly accident, 10 percent were allegedly distracted when the incident occurred.

To prevent younger people from taking their focus off the road, experts recommend teaching safe practices from the beginning. Teens can learn good habits by example. Parents should never use their phones or engage in other distractions while driving. One item parents can do is pace their phones in a glove box so as not to be tempted by a message or call.

Distraction.gov also suggests having young drivers sign a pledge stating that they will not drive while distracted. Additionally, teens are encouraged to call out their peers who are using their phones or otherwise losing focus on the task at hand.

Distracted driving is a proven deadly behavior and should be avoided at all costs. Anyone who has questions or concerns about this issue should consult with an attorney.