Due to many commercial campaigns and publicity events on the subject, the dangers of texting or emailing while driving can be said to be firmly rooted in the national consciousness. However, despite all the effort that has been expended into informing the American public about the hazards, a new survey shows that the message has not resonated—especially among young drivers.
The statistics highlighting the dangers of texting or emailing while driving are well known and easily accessible to the public. According to research by the U.S. Department of Transportation, text messaging makes it 23 times more likely that a driver will be involved in a car accident. Research from the agency had proven that sending or receiving a text while driving 55 mph takes the driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds—enough time for the car to go the entire length of a football field.
Yet, despite the known dangers, the survey, recently conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that 58 percent of high school seniors admitted to texting or emailing while driving during the previous month. In addition, the data revealed that 43 percent of high school juniors said that they did the same thing.
Teenage drivers’ reluctance to put down their cellphones while driving has deadly consequences. In 2010 alone, 3,092 people were killed nationwide by distracted drivers and an estimated 416,000 were injured. As a CDC survey found that only 9 percent of Americans overall text or email while driving, teen drivers clearly bear the overwhelming responsibility for accidents caused by engaging in this activity.
Connecticut’s Laws Regarding Distracted Driving
Connecticut law bans the use of handheld phones while driving. It also bans the use of hand-held and hands-free cellphones for all drivers under the age of 18. Other than for emergencies, sending or reading at text message while driving is also prohibited.
Texting while driving in Connecticut is a primary offense, meaning that law enforcement can pull drivers over for no other reason than because they observe a driver committing the offense. If caught texting or illegally using a cellphone while driving, drivers can be fined $125 for a first violation, $200 for a second and $400 for every subsequent violation. This fine is in addition to fines for any other moving violation that the driver has committed, such as speeding.
Despite the inherently dangerous activity of texting while driving, there will always be those who choose to flout the law, for whatever reason. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your right to collect compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver.