HANG UP AND DRIVE: APRIL IS DISTRACTED DRIVING AWARENESS MONTH
To help draw attention to the dangers of distracted driving, federal officials have designated April as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The campaign, which uses the slogan “One text or call could wreck it all,” places an emphasis on preventing cellphone-related distracted driving accidents.
Connecticut distracted driving law
In Connecticut, as in many other states, the law restricts cellphone use while driving in an effort to help keep drivers focused on the roads. The Connecticut distracted driving law provides the following:
- All drivers are prohibited from using hand-held cellphones and electronic mobile devices while a vehicle is in motion. (Adult drivers may use cellphones with a hands-free device.)
- Drivers under the age of 18 may not use any type of cellphone or electronic device while driving, whether hand-held or hands-free.
- All drivers are barred from engaging in any non-driving activity that interferes with the safe operation of a vehicle on the highway.
Connecticut law enforcement officers have issued approximately 117,000 citations for cellphone use and distracted driving since 2010, according to the Connecticut Centralized Infractions Bureau. Still, phone calls, texting and other forms of distracted driving continue to play a major role in Connecticut vehicle accidents.
Distracted driving facts
In 2011 alone, a total of 3,331 people were killed in the United States as a result of traffic accidents involving distracted driving, according to federal data, and an additional 387,00 were injured.
Distracted driving affects people of all ages, but people under the age of 20 make up the greatest proportion of distracted drivers. Sixteen percent of drivers under 20 who are involved in fatal crashes are distracted at the time of the crash, according to the National Highway Safety Administration.
However, teen drivers appear less likely to be distracted by cellphones than older drivers. Among distracted drivers involved in fatal accidents, those in the 30- to 39-year-old age group have the highest rate of cellphone involvement. This finding runs contrary to popular assumptions about cellphone use and texting among teen drivers. While drivers under 20 account for the highest proportion of distracted driving accidents, they may be more prone to distraction from other sources, such as eating, adjusting the stereo or interacting with passengers.
Compensation for distracted driving injuries
When distracted drivers cause accidents in Connecticut, they can be held liable for any injuries that occur as a result. A person injured by a distracted driver may be entitled to compensation for his or her medical and rehabilitation costs, as well as lost income, pain and suffering, and other harm resulting from the crash. To learn more about pursuing a personal injury claim after a distracted driving crash, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.