Distracted driving fines could increase if new law passes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Distracted driving fines could increase if new law passes

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Connecticut lawmakers are looking at a bill that would increase the fine for drivers using cell phones and notify insurance companies too.

Since the state banned drivers from using cell phones in 2005, hundreds of thousands of tickets have been issued to distracted drivers.

"You're texting and you're driving at the same time and you're not paying attention to the road," said Dawn Watson. "I think it's very dangerous."

Eyewitness News looked into a proposed law that would call for higher monetary fines for violators and allow for the information to become available to the insurance companies.

If the law passes, the fine for a first violation would increase from $125 to $150. For a second violation, the fine would increase from $250 to $300. And every violations after that, the fine would go up from $400 to $500.

"We're hoping it will serve as an increased deterrent to disobey this law, which is a true public safety issue," said state Rep. David Scribner (R-107).

According to research provided by lawmakers, sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 mph, that is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blind.

Drivers told Eyewitness News the cost of the ticket is already high enough, but said increased fines would make them think twice before reaching for the phone.

"Even after this experience, I'll never do it again," said Jackie Golab. "I bought a Bluetooth headset, and I'll just make sure that never happens because, you know, time off from work and the fine, it's definitely a deterrent for sure."

The proposed bill is supported by the transportation committee and is awaiting action in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers are set to vote on the bill this week.

If passes, it would go into effect next October.

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