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Bolinsky: Please Put Down the Phone While You Drive

Posted on April 1, 2022


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Bolinsky: Please Put Down the Phone While You Drive

NEWTOWN- State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) is reminding Newtown residents that April is Distracted Driving Month and that texting and driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving.

According to Bolinsky, Connecticut’s distracted driving laws changed in 2021.  Fines and enforcement using a mobile device increased because of an alarming rise in crashes and fatalities attributable to handheld phone use, texting and other distractions online.

The new penalties are:

  • $200 for a first violation (was $150)
  • $375 for a second violation (was $300)
  • $625 for subsequent violations (was $500)

Bolinsky said, “These are fines nobody should ever have to pay because driving distracted is a choice with potentially fatal consequences. Nationally, mobile device use was responsible for killing more than 10,000 motor vehicle occupants and pedestrians in 2021. Every one of this fatalities was avoidable. Driving safely requires our full attention. You cannot give it the attention required while using a mobile device behind the wheel.

The 3-Strikes of distracted driving are: 

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road.
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel.
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off driving.

Texting is the strikeout king of driving.”

Over the past decade, distracted driving has become one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes on our nation’s roads. At any given moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using electronic devices while driving.  In Connecticut in 2020, there were nearly 5,000 crashes directly attributed to distracted driving.

Connecticut law prohibits the use of any hand-held mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle. Drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device at any time, even with a hands-free accessory.

For more information, visit www.distraction.gov.