Today: Jul 14, 2024

Strict penalties for using a phone while driving in CT

Lauren Kurty, Staff Writer:

Drivers talking on cell phones in this technology-filled world is very common, even though many states, including Connecticut, have banned all usage of phones for talking and texting while driving.

Victoria Sperduto, a sophomore exercise science major, said laws pertaining to texting while driving need to be toughened up, while laws that restrict talking while driving are strict enough for her.

“I don’t think so,” she said. “Only with texting otherwise the law with talking is strict enough.”

Connecticut as a whole has made its current “talking while driving” laws tougher by increasing fines as well as having no tolerance for people who are getting caught using their phones for the first time.

According to Handsfreeinfo.com, “Fines are now $100, $150, $200 instead of the previous $100. No more forgiveness for first-time offenders.”

Drivers who insist on taking calls while they are driving have many options for hands-free devices. Sperduto said she uses Bluetooth when she is driving and talking, which is one of the hands-free options, along with other devices that are wired directly to your car.

According to the Connecticut Judicial Branch, “Hand-held cell phones or mobile electronic devices may not be used while operating a motor vehicle in Connecticut. Drivers 18 years of age and older need hands-free accessories to legally use cell phones or mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.”

Even with the fines increasing and the possibility of licenses being taken away, Sperduto said she still thinks drivers will disobey the law.

“No, because if there was a law people would still try and break the law,” Sperduto said.

Becky Urban, a sophomore nursing major, said there might be only one thing that would stop people from talking on their cell phones in the car, and that would be if something disastrous happened.

“If they got into a car accident,” she said. “It would stop people.”

Drivers do many things while they are supposed to be paying attention to the road: Texting, talking and e-mailing. Amanda Allain, a sophomore education major, said she doesn’t believe there is anything that will stop people from talking on their cell phones because conversations will always be more important, and said she doesn’t use her cell phone while driving.

Ultimately, people that are using their cell phones while driving are putting their lives into their own hands they could so affect the lives of the people around them. However, drivers like Urban believe that the laws in this state are perfectly fine and that getting your driving privileges taken away are bad enough.

“I don’t think so,” she said. “Taking away your license is strict enough.” 

Allain disagreed with Sperduto and Urban and said that safety was the reason why Connecticut would need to make the laws about distracted driving stricter.

For drivers like Urban who admittedly sometimes still talk on their phones while driving, they are not alone; police in Hartford and New York have started a campaign to stop people from making this potentially deadly mistake. 

“The federal Department of Transportation funded the pilot campaign, which began in spring 2010 in Hartford and Syracuse, N.Y. In the “Phone in one hand. Ticket in the other” campaign’s three previous sweeps, 7,200 tickets were handed out in Hartford,” according to handsfreeinfo.com

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