Connecticut defines distracted driving as anything that a person does while operating a vehicle that is not driving related. These include visual, manual, or cognitive distractions. Some examples include:
- Looking away from the road
- Taking your hands of the wheel
- Having your attention on something other than driving
In the State of Connecticut, it is illegal for drivers who are between 16 and 17 years of age to use a cell phone or mobile device. This includes cell phones and devices that are hands free.
Drivers who are 18 and over are not allowed to use handheld cell phones. However, they may use a Bluetooth, wired headset, car kit, or speaker phone. If a police officer sees you with a cell phone near your ear, they assume you are making a phone call, so be careful of that when you are driving. The only exceptions to this law is in an emergency situation.
Drivers of all ages are not allowed to text while driving with a handheld cell phone. This includes reading, typing, or sending a text message. If you are over the age of 18, you are allowed to text using the handsfree feature. An emergency situation is an exception to this law as well.
- Drivers between 16 and 17 years of age cannot use mobile device at all, including texting
- Drivers 18 and older can use a cell phone with a hands free device, including text messaging
Fines for Using a Handheld Cell Phone
- First offense is $125
- Second offense is $250
- Third and subsequent offenses are $400
Fines for Texting
- First offense is $100
- Second and third offenses are $200
Penalties for Teens
- First offense is a 30-day license suspension, a $125 license restoration fee, and court fines
- Second and later offenses are a six month license suspension or until the driver reaches 18 years of age, a $125 license restoration fee, and court fines
Police in Connecticut can pull a driver over for violating any of the laws above and nothing else. The fines and penalties in Connecticut are hefty, so it is important to pay close attention to the different laws depending on the age category you fall into. For your safety and the safety of those around you, it is best not to drive distracted.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Cell Phones and Texting: Distracted Driving Laws in Connecticut and was authored by Valerie Johnston.