In Connecticut, distracted driving is defined in approximately three pages of typed legalese as codified in Connecticut General Statutes §14-296aa. The first page (Subsection (a)) contains mostly definitions, the second and third pages set forth the actual law. Specifically, subsections (b) thru (e) go into great detail about use of cell phones and texting, but subsection (f) gives you the general rule summarizing the law as “…no person shall engage in any activity not related to the actual operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that interferes with the safe operation of such vehicle on any highway, as defined in section 14-1.” By design, this rule gives police officers extensive discretion in interpreting this rule, but it does require the officer to describe, in detail, what s/he witnessed so the court can adequately review it if the ticket is challenged.

The following are some examples of distracted driving that I myself have witnessed people doing that are unquestionable violations: Playing a bugle, typing on a laptop mounted to the steering wheel, shaving, applying makeup with the use of a compact or the rear view mirror, watching a video on a cell phone while holding it on the steering wheel, having an argument with a significant other, trying to reach something on the floor in front of you or on the passenger side, dropping a lit cigarette and the scramble to find it before the car ignites, changing places with the passenger, having helium balloons flying around the interior of the car with a window partially open fueling their movement about the cabin, trying to hit kids in the back seat, having a pet on your lap, talking on your cell phone without hands free equipment and texting. Every one of these examples needs no further explanation for anyone to agree it is “distracted driving.” If any or all of these things are that important to you, pull over and do it safely but please do not do it while driving.

The fine associated with this offense is $150 for the first offense, $300 for the second and $500 for the third or subsequent offense. The potential consequence of death to you or others that may result from your lapse of judgment is a fine you do not want to pay. Pay attention to the road it’s much easier than paying the fines!



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