Last week Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy quietly signed into
law House Bill 6033 to beef up the state's distracted-driving
Rep. Fred Camillo led the charge due to firsthand knowledge of
how it feels to be hit by a distracted driver after being struck by
one in 2008.
"With the rise of technology, distracted driving is not only a
problem in Connecticut, but across the country," said Rep.
Camillo. "In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes
involving a distracted driver and an additional, 387,000 people
were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted
driver. I hope that these new laws will serve as a model for other
states so we can see those numbers decrease on a national
The law will do the following:
- Establish a task force that will study and evaluate the
state's distracted driving laws and their enforcement, research
what other states are doing on the distracted driving front and
then develop recommendations to prevent distracted driving in
- Raise distracted driving fines. A first violation
increases from $135 to $150, a second from $250 to $300 and a
third or subsequent jumps to $500, from the current amount of
- Change distracted driving citations to a moving violation --
putting it on the list of serious traffic violations and
assigning it points.
- Allow for the offense to now appear on the motor vehicle
record of the driver and be available to car insurance companies
to use when calculating rates for an insurance policy.
The higher fines will hit a distracted driver's wallet, but it's
the insurance surcharge that will likely hurt the most. A
fine is a one-time payment, but an auto insurance company can raise
your rates for three years, or more, for a moving violation such as
this. (See "
What you need to know about Connecticut car
reports that a second recently signed law also hopes to help
Connecticut drivers keep their eyes on the road at all times
by making it illegal for motorists to use their handheld device
when behind the wheel - including when the car is sitting
motionless. That means drivers may not use their mobile devices
even when stopped at a light or stuck in traffic. Presently,
a motorist must be driving (car in motion) to be
Both laws go into effect Oct. 1.