CT Texting and Distracted Driving Car Accidents Continue

2013-01-28 | Joseph M. Busher
jmbusher@jacksonokeefe.com

Category: Distracted Driving

Joseph M. Busher

It’s an unfortunate fact.  Too many Connecticut drivers are being injured as a result of cell phone use, texting and other forms of distracted driving.  If you or a loved one has been the victim of such negligence in causing a car crash, contact us at Jackson O’Keefe for a free consultation.  We have the knowledge and experience to get you through the process expeditiously and to get you the compensation you deserve.

Overview of Connecticut’s Distracted Driving Statute

The Connecticut statute as a whole prohibits the operation of a vehicle while using a hand-held mobile telephone to engage in a call; while using a mobile electronic device; or while typing, sending or reading a text message with a hand-held mobile telephone or mobile electronic device. It will be presumed that you are making a call if you have the cell phone near your ear. Exceptions to the rule exist for emergency calls and calls made while using a hands-free device.

Under subsections (b) and (g), adults who violate the distracted driving statute are subject to fines as follows: $100 for the first offense, $150 for a second offense and $200 for subsequent offenses. Under subsection (i), anyone who commits a moving violation while violating the prohibition is subject to the fine for the moving violation plus a $100 fine for violating the distracted driving statute.

Under subsection (d), persons under 18 years of age are prohibited from using cell phones even with hands-free devices, except with regard to emergency calls. Under subsection (h) a $100 fine applies to each such violation. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, under a separate statute, §14-111, for a first violation of section 14-296aa, person under 18 are subject to a license suspension for a period of thirty days for a first violation and, for a second violation a suspension of ninety days and, for a third or subsequent violation a six month suspension. Additionally, the Department of Motor Vehicles will charge a license restoration fee following each such suspension.

In addition to the statute, other principles of common law or other statutes may also apply in accidents caused in part by distracted driving in Connecticut.

Excerpt of Connecticut’s Distracted Driving Statute

The text of the statute is as follows:

§ 14-296aa. Use of hand-held mobile telephones and mobile electronic devices by motor vehicle operators and school bus drivers, prohibited or restricted, when. Penalties

* * * [definitions omitted]

(b) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection and subsections (c) and (d) of this section, no person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a highway, as defined in section 14-1, while using a hand-held mobile telephone to engage in a call or while using a mobile electronic device while such vehicle is in motion. An operator of a motor vehicle who types, sends or reads a text message with a hand-held mobile telephone or mobile electronic device while such vehicle is in motion shall be in violation of this section. (2) An operator of a motor vehicle who holds a hand-held mobile telephone to, or in the immediate proximity of, his or her ear while such vehicle is in motion is presumed to be engaging in a call within the meaning of this section. The presumption established by this subdivision is rebuttable by evidence tending to show that the operator was not engaged in a call. (3) The provisions of this subsection shall not be construed as authorizing the seizure or forfeiture of a hand-held mobile telephone or a mobile electronic device, unless otherwise provided by law. (4) Subdivision (1) of this subsection does not apply to: (A) The use of a hand-held mobile telephone for the sole purpose of communicating with any of the following regarding an emergency situation: An emergency response operator; a hospital, physician’s office or health clinic; an ambulance company; a fire department; or a police department, or (B) any of the following persons while in the performance of their official duties and within the scope of their employment: A peace officer, as defined in subdivision (9) of section 53a-3, a firefighter or an operator of an ambulance or authorized emergency vehicle, as defined in section 14-1, or a member of the armed forces of the United States, as defined in section 27-103, while operating a military vehicle, or (C) the use of a hands-free mobile telephone.

(c) No person shall use a hand-held mobile telephone or other electronic device, including those with hands-free accessories, or a mobile electronic device while operating a moving school bus that is carrying passengers, except that this subsection does not apply to (1) a school bus driver who places an emergency call to school officials, or (2) the use of a hand-held mobile telephone as provided in subparagraph (A) of subdivision (4) of subsection (b) of this section.

(d) No person under eighteen years of age shall use any hand-held mobile telephone, including one with a hands-free accessory, or a mobile electronic device while operating a moving motor vehicle on a public highway, except as provided in subparagraph (A) of subdivision (4) of subsection (b) of this section.

(e) Except as provided in subsections (b) to (d), inclusive, of this section, no person shall engage in any activity not related to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of such vehicle on any highway, as defined in section 14-1.

* * *

(g) Any person who violates subsection (b) of this section shall be fined one hundred dollars for a first violation, one hundred fifty dollars for a second violation and two hundred dollars for a third or subsequent violation. (h) Any person who violates subsection (c) or (d) of this section shall be fined not more than one hundred dollars.

(i) An operator of a motor vehicle who commits a moving violation, as defined in subsection (a) of section 14-111g, while engaged in any activity prohibited under subsection (e) of this section shall be fined one hundred dollars in addition to any penalty or fine imposed for the moving violation.

(j) An operator of a motor vehicle who commits a moving violation, as defined in subsection (a) of section 14-111g, while engaged in any activity (1) that is prohibited under subsection (e) of this section, and (2) that results in an accident, shall be fined five hundred dollars in addition to any penalty or fine imposed for the moving violation.

Call us or contact us above for help with your distracted driving case

The Connecticut car accident lawyers at Jackson O’Keefe have the years of experience and knowledge necessary to provide you with the skilled representation you need when dealing with insurance companies following any type of motor vehicle accident. Car crashes and those involving motorcycles or commercial trucks all have specific laws and issues unique to them. Quick assessment of those issues, determining the cause of the crash and assessing the severity of your injury and your medical needs are the services you can expect when you retain our Wethersfield Connecticut car accident attorneys. The Connecticut car accident lawyers at Jackson O’Keefe are adept at assessing the physical principles of the accident, the medical evidence used to evaluate injuries, and the economic and accounting principles required to evaluate losses. We provide the strongest possible representation to maximize your recovery. We will investigate the car accident scene, research the accident and your car, along with any other evidence that came into play at the time of your accident. We will stand up for you against any wrongdoer, trucking company or anyone else who has caused you harm. It is our responsibility to make sure your rights are upheld and defended. Because of our experience in taking cases to trial, we can often obtain favorable settlements even without a trial. With over 50 years of representing Connecticut car accident litigants, the law firm of Jackson O’Keefe understands how the unique circumstances of your collision require careful and compassionate representation. We are also familiar with the very recent legal changes regarding distracted driving in this emerging, troubling area of injuries and death on the roads.

CT Distracted Driving, Conn. Texting Car Accident Lawyers

For more information and resources on CT distracted driving lawyers, see http://www.jacksonokeefe.com/personal-injury/ct-distracted-driving-statistics.htm

Jackson O’Keefe handles Connecticut car accident cases and Connecticut distracted driving, cell phone and texting car accident cases throughout the State of Connecticut, including clients in West Hartford, Farmington, Avon, Simsbury, Old Lyme, Ellington, Tolland, North Haven, Wallingford, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, Cromwell, Bethlehem, Moodus, East Haddam, Hadlyme, Madison, Middletown, Hartford, Southington, Plantsville, Hartford County, New Haven County, Middlesex County, New London County and Litchfield County.

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