The Governors Highway Safety Association is using the state of Connecticut’s laws against texting while driving as a model for other states to follow in combating distracted driving.
In Connecticut, it is illegal to use a handheld cellphone while driving for texting or calls, except for emergency situations. Most Connecticut drivers are allowed to use hands-free cellphones while driving, but drivers younger than 18 are prohibited from using any type of cellphone while driving.
The Connecticut Highway Safety Office’s distracted driving program manager said the law makes it simple for police to enforce because if there is a cellphone in a driver’s hand, then the driver is violating the law.
In other states that allow talking on cellphones but not texting, a recent news report suggests that police are having a more difficult time.
A Massachusetts news station teamed up with Northeastern University’s School of Journalism and concluded that Massachusetts’ ban on texting while driving, which does not include hand-held cellphone use, is very difficult for police to enforce.
The reason is because officers cannot always determine whether a driver is texting or dialing a phone number to make a call, which is still legal in the state.
In fact, while Massachusetts has issued 11,234 texting while driving tickets since the ban went into effect in 2010, Connecticut police issued 15,627 cellphone-related tickets in 2014 alone.
Connecticut’s lawmakers may even take the state’s distracted driving laws a step further by having the penalties for texting while driving be the same as those in place for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Reportedly, lawmakers have also proposed a bill that would make the punishments for causing a fatal accident by texting and driving the same as those for causing a fatal drunk or drugged driving accident.
Our firm has seen first-hand the devastation that texting while driving causes. Keep reading to find out more about how we assist victims of distracted driving accidents and their families.