All Distracted Driving Accidents Can Be Avoided
Connecticut, as is the case with most of the country, experiences an alarmingly high number of motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted drivers. A recent report indicated that in 2018, there were almost 110,000 motor vehicle accidents in Connecticut that were caused by distracted driving mistakes. Sadly, all of these accidents could have been avoided.
The Four Types of Distracted Driving
The Connecticut State Department of Transportation defines distracted driving as any non-driving activity a person engages in while operating a motor vehicle. There are basically four categories of distracted driving which are:
- Manual– some activity that causes you to take your hand or hands off the steering wheel.
- Visual– An activity that causes you to take your eyes off the road.
- Auditory– Hearing something unrelated to your driving.
- Cognitive– Thinking about something other than driving.
Cell Phone usage is the focus of CT Legislators
Connecticut lawmakers have been primarily focused on the use of cell phones in reducing the number of distracted driving accidents and have not addressed a large number of other distractions that are engaged in by motor vehicle operators while on our roadways. Connecticut General Statute section 14 – 296aa deals with the use of handheld mobile telephones and mobile electronic devices by motor vehicle operators and school bus drivers. This statute sets forth the prohibitions, restrictions, exceptions, and penalties.
The applicable statute, in relevant part, provides as follows:
(b) (1) Except as otherwise provided in this subsection and subsections (c) and (d) of this section, no person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a highway, as defined in section 14-1, while using a hand-held mobile telephone to engage in a call or while using a mobile electronic device. An operator of a motor vehicle who types, sends, or reads a text message with a hand-held mobile telephone or mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle shall be in violation of this section, except that if such operator is driving a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in section 14-1, such operator shall be charged with a violation of subsection (e) of this section.
Additionally, section A 8 of the statute provides, in relevant part, as follows:
“Mobile electronic device” means any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing data communication between two or more persons, including a text messaging device, a paging device, a personal digital assistant, a laptop computer, equipment that is capable of playing a video game or a digital video disk, or equipment on which digital photographs are taken or transmitted, or any combination thereof, but does not include any audio equipment or any equipment installed in a motor vehicle for the purpose of providing navigation, emergency assistance to the operator of such motor vehicle or video entertainment to the passengers in the rear seats of such motor vehicle.
Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous
Most people do not realize how incredibly dangerous it is to engage in any type of distracted driving. Please keep in mind that if you are traveling 55 mph and take your eyes off the road for less than five seconds to read a text or to use your cell phone then you will have traveled the length of an entire football field without being aware of what is going on in front of you. As you can well imagine, the chances of becoming involved in a serious accident, under these circumstances, is quite great.