If you are like most people, you probably know some but hardly all the laws related to traffic safety in Connecticut.
Why’s that matter?
For several reasons… knowing the rules can help avoid a car accident while keeping you and your family safe in the event of an accident. It’s also important to remember that ignorance of the law is not considered an excuse should you ever find yourself in violation.
To that end, we thought a refresher on the most important traffic safety laws/rules might be helpful.
- Pedestrians. Drivers must grant the right-of-way to any pedestrian that has stepped “off the curb or into the crosswalk” even if the crosswalk is unmarked. The law defines a crosswalk as either (1) the part of a public road at an intersection which would laterally, not diagonally, connect sidewalks or (2) any area on a road which is distinguished as a crossing for pedestrians by devices, lines, or markings on the surface of the road As a result, there are unmarked or “implied” crosswalks all over. If a pedestrian leaves a sidewalk to cross a street to another sidewalk and there are no traffic controls or walk signs, that person is in a crosswalk and drivers must yield to him or her.
- Cell phones and texting. Drivers younger than 18 may not use a cell phone or other mobile devices (even hands-free) while driving. Motorists over 18 years of age may only use hands-free mobile devices while driving. Drivers of all ages may use a mobile device in the event of an emergency. Texting while driving is illegal for all age groups.
- Seat belts. Anyone riding in the front seat of a motor vehicle is required to wear a seat belt and all rear-seat passengers between 4 years old and 16 years old must be restrained by an appropriate safety system. Remember – seat belts save lives – by the tens of thousands!
- Child car seats. All children must ride in an age and weight appropriate car seat until the age of 6 or until they reach 60 pounds in Connecticut. Infants must be transported in rear-facing car seats until they are a year old and 20 pounds or more in weight.
- Bike helmets. Anyone under 16 years of age is required by law to wear a bicycle helmet when riding a bike.
- Motorcycle helmets and eyewear. Any motorcycle driver age 16 or 17 is required to wear a motorcycle helmet while riding a motorcycle. Drivers of all ages must wear eye protection at all times unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windshield.
- Headlight use. Headlights must be turned on from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise, during precipitation and when it is impossible to see clearly 500 feet ahead.
- Unattended children. Anyone who leaves a child younger than 12 years of age alone in a car long enough that it represents a danger to the child may be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
- Drinking and driving. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place to protect the public from drunk drivers (e.g., driving is illegal with a blood alcohol content at or above 0.08%). In Connecticut, sobriety checkpoints are allowed.
- Penalties for Drivers Younger than 21. Per the state’s Zero Tolerance Law, drivers younger than 21 years old caught operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of 0.02% or higher face license suspension. Minors with learner’s permits face license suspension for violating the Zero Tolerance Law as well as offenses like:
- Violating any license restrictions
- Reckless driving
- Street racing
- Using a cell phone or other device for phone calls or text messages
If you’re ever injured in a car or bike accident of any kind, know that the Connecticut accident lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting drivers injured in accidents for over 60 years. And we have received meaningful state and national recognition for our work in this area. If you are ever in an accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut accident lawyers, please contact us. There is no obligation.