Beebe and O'Neil

Distracted drivers are an ongoing risk on Connecticut roads

There are many different distractions that can keep someone from focusing fully on the road as they drive. Distracted driving has been a problem for as long as motor vehicles have been available, but modern mobile devices have certainly exacerbated the issue, making the roads around New Haven a little less safe.

Our society has become addicted to the idea of constant connection. Bosses can't wait for their workers to arrive at the office to begin sending emails. Students feel the need to post social media updates about every moment of their daily life. People headed home from work can't wait to make plans, so they do so while driving.

Distraction on the roads can be a serious issue. People get hurt or have to deal with substantial property damage in collisions caused by distracted drivers. The good news is that using a handheld mobile device while driving is against the law, and police want to crack down on distracted drivers.

Phone use is easy to spot and prove

Some states want to tweak traffic cameras to scan vehicles for drivers using mobile devices at the wheel. Other states, like Connecticut, have made enforcement of no-texting laws a higher priority for officers on traffic duty. With a trained eye, it is relatively easy for police to identify people who might be texting at the wheel.

At night, the phone's glow from someone's lap can provide instant verification of someone's suspicions. During the daytime, although the glow is less visible, it is easier to notice when someone's hands are not on the wheel or their face is turned downward instead of forward. Police know to look for these signs of distraction, and other drivers would do well to remember to watch out for these red flags.

During a traffic stop or after a crash, law enforcement officers can review the data in the phone itself to verify texting suspicions. However, given that many drivers know texting at the wheel is illegal, they are apt to delete their sent messages or web history before they exit their vehicle at the scene of a crash. Thankfully, police can obtain phone records from service providers to verify whether somebody had sent a text or posted to social media in the seconds before the crash.

Distracted drivers are negligent and needlessly endanger others

No one is likely to argue that distracted driving isn't really that dangerous. Most people readily recognize the risks that come from distracted driving, but plenty of people still engage in this dangerous communication practice.

When a driver causes a crash because of distraction in the New Haven, Connecticut, area, the people in the other vehicle can potentially bring a personal injury claim against the driver. Knowingly doing something that increases your risk of a crash is negligent behavior, which could provide grounds for a victim to seek compensation for their medical costs or property damage losses after a texting-related crash.

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