Distracted driving often results in accidents that cause catastrophic injury and fatality. Most states, including Connecticut, have enacted laws about electronic device use behind the wheel in response to the increase in these incidents.

Familiarize yourself with the distracted driving laws in Connecticut to help keep everyone safe on the road.

Prohibitions on device use

In general, Connecticut bans all use of smartphones and other wireless and electronic devices by drivers. However, drivers ages 18 or older can make calls and send messages using hands-free technology, except for school bus drivers. Motorists can receive a distracted driving ticket for holding the phone near the ear and mouth while driving, even if the vehicle is at a red light or stop sign. In addition to smartphones, the law bans the use of laptops, two-way radios, pagers, video game consoles and laptop computers.

Exceptions to the rules

The mandate against device use in Connecticut makes exceptions for:

  • Drivers who are completely parked on the shoulder of the road or in another safe location
  • Military members, paramedics, firefighters, police officers and other first responders on official duty
  • Anyone calling 911 to report an emergency situation

Other driving distractions

Connecticut law also prohibits drivers from any actions that take their attention off the road. This could include eating, reading, personal grooming or any other distraction observed by law enforcement.

The state fines drivers $150 for the first distracted driving ticket, which increases to $300 for a second offense and $500 for subsequent offenses. Drivers will also receive two points on their Connecticut driver’s license for each offense. After 10 points, the state will suspend the driver’s license for a minimum of 30 days.

According to the Department of Transportation, 20,000 distracted driving fatalities occurred between 2012 and 2017. This type of accident disproportionately involves drivers ages 15 to 19. Following these Connecticut laws can help protect yourself and others on the road from catastrophic auto accident injury.