A driver texting with both hands on his phone while behind the wheel of his car.Distracted driving is more prevalent than ever, thanks in large part to modern technology. Although technological advances have made our cars safer, these advances have also led to electronic devices that constantly vie for our attention.

Distracted driving is so dangerous that 48 states, including Connecticut, have specific laws regarding cell phone usage in cars. Knowing the state laws is essential to avoiding penalties and making Connecticut roads safer for everyone.

Unfortunately, people don’t always follow distracted driving rules. Accidents happen every day in the United States because of drivers making calls, answering text messages, or browsing social media while behind the wheel.

If you’re a victim of a distracted driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Bert McDowell Injury Law is dedicated to helping victims of negligence get the compensation they deserve.

Led by Attorney Bert McDowell, our firm has secured millions of dollars in cumulative insurance settlements and jury awards for its clients.

If you want to schedule a confidential consultation regarding your case, call Bert’s office at (203) 590-9169 or fill out the online contact form.

Connecticut Laws Regarding Distracted Driving

Connecticut separates distractions into three types of activities:

  • Manual: Manual distractions refer to any activities that cause you to take your hands off of the wheel. Examples include reaching for a lost object in your car, eating food, or pulling items out of a bag.
  • Visual: Visual distractions draw your eyes away from the road. A phone screen could count as a visual distraction. A mirror could also be a visual distraction if you’re using it to check your appearance when you should be focusing on the road.
  • Cognitive: Cognitive distractions may not be obvious at first glance. Daydreaming, talking with passengers, or singing along with the radio could all be cognitive distractions if they affect your ability to focus on driving.

Despite the fact that many types of distractions exist, Connecticut’s distracted driving laws are centered on electronic devices, since smartphones are the most common culprit.

In Connecticut, Drivers ages 16-17 are not allowed to use a mobile device while operating a motor vehicle unless they’re in an emergency situation. In an emergency, young drivers can use their device to reach “an emergency response operator, a hospital, physician’s office, health clinic, ambulance company or fire or police department.”

Drivers ages 18 and older can only use a mobile device with a hands-free accessory, such as Bluetooth-enabled headphones or a phone stand. Drivers of any age are not allowed to operate hand-held devices while in motion or at a stoplight.

It’s worth noting that, under Connecticut law, mobile electronic devices are any piece of equipment that can be used as a communication device. In addition to cell phones, this definition could include tablets, handheld gaming devices, or computers.

How Dangerous Are Distracted Driving Accidents?

Sending a quick text message or answering a call behind the wheel may not seem like a big deal. Truthfully, though, distracted driving accidents can be deadly. In fact, some estimates show that up to 3,000 Americans die every year in accidents caused by unfocused drivers — this works out to nine deaths every minute.

Hundreds of thousands of others are injured in these crashes, as well.

Distracted driving accidents affect drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. In 2020, nearly 600 cyclists and pedestrians lost their lives because of inattention at the wheel.

Distracted driving accidents can lead to all kinds of injuries, including the following.

Cuts, Scrapes, and Bruises

Surface wounds are common after car accidents. You could sustain cuts, scrapes, or bruises that take days or weeks to heal.

Deep wounds may require ongoing medical attention, and open wounds on any part of the body could get infected.

Broken Bones, Sprains, or Tears

The crushing impact of an accident can lead to broken bones, muscle or ligament tears, and sprains. These injuries can have a long-lasting effect on your range of motion and quality of life.

You may need surgery, physical therapy, medications, and other interventions to fully recover.

Neck & Back Injuries

Crushing forces can easily injure your neck and back.

The spine protects the spinal cord, which serves as the link between your body and brain. Spinal cord damage can lead to decreased motor function, paralysis, or death, depending on the severity of the injury.

Even if your spinal cord is intact, neck and back injuries can still be debilitating since they may affect your ability to move. An accident victim might need months of rehabilitation to move past the pain and complications of neck or back injuries.

Internal Organ Injuries

Car accidents can damage your delicate internal organs. An internal injury can lead to bleeding, which is a serious concern that requires immediate medical attention.

It is always wise to get checked by a medical professional after a crash to ensure your liver, lungs, kidneys, stomach, and other organs have not sustained serious damage.


Burns are serious injuries that may cause infections or disfigurement. You could be burned by hot car parts, fuel, or maybe even the asphalt if you’re ejected from your vehicle on a hot day.

Burns require weeks or months of consistent care to fully heal.

Brain Injuries

Some injuries, such as brain damage, aren’t immediately clear to the naked eye. Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of brain injuries across all age groups.

In a car accident, your body may stop accelerating before your brain stops, which causes your brain to crash against your skull. The brain can also be injured by a crushing blow or impaling object.

Brain injuries impact people in different ways. Mild injuries could cause headaches, vision problems, temporary memory loss, nausea, and fatigue, while in severe cases, brain injuries can reduce cognitive function, cause short-term and long-term memory loss, or disable a person completely.

Steps to Take After a Distracted Driving Accident

There is no such thing as a “normal” reaction to a car accident. After a crash, you might feel confused, upset, frightened, overwhelmed, shocked, or numb.

No matter how you feel, there are a few important steps you should try to keep in mind to protect yourself and others immediately after the crash.

Get to Safety

Accident scenes can be chaotic. After the dust settles, your car could be disabled in the middle of the road or surrounded by high-speed traffic.

If you can’t safely move your car, you should relocate on foot, if possible. Get to a parking lot or a wide shoulder where other drivers can easily see and avoid you.

If you can move your car, pull off onto a wide shoulder or into a parking lot. Turn on your emergency blinkers and stay in the vehicle until help arrives.

Call Law Enforcement

Call the police as soon as possible. This step is essential even after a minor accident.

Your insurance company will want a copy of a police report that includes details and observations about the car accident. It’s much easier to create this report on-site than to try recalling details later from memory.

Further, it’s best to get the police on the scene as soon as possible in case someone is hurt. If anyone has life-threatening injuries, be sure to let the dispatcher know so that they can send an ambulance.

Document the Scene

If possible, gather photo and video evidence of the crash. Take pictures of the vehicles, your surroundings, and any injuries.

This evidence may come in handy later as you discuss the accident with law enforcement and the insurance company.

If you suspect that distracted driving played a role in the accident, be sure to share your observations with the responding officer. For example, you may have noticed the other driver swerving, starting, and stopping for no apparent reason or failing to obey traffic signals.

If applicable, authorities can also review video footage from traffic cameras. The footage may reveal some of the telltale signs of distracted driving.

Contact Insurance

Let your insurance company know about the accident as soon as you can. They’ll start an investigation to determine the cause of the crash and who is at fault.

The investigation can take several weeks since the insurance company has to coordinate with other involved parties and gather all the facts before making a determination. If you have any evidence you want to provide, you can let your insurance agent know.

You may be asked to provide a statement along with copies of relevant documents. You might also be asked to give a statement to the other party’s insurance company for the sake of their investigation.

Remember that you have the right to decline in both instances, and it is often best to delegate these conversations to insurers so as to avoid making statements that could affect your ability to claim full compensation.

Contact a Determined Personal Injury Attorney Law Firm in Connecticut After a Distracted Driver Has Hurt You

If the insurance company determines that you’re eligible for a payout, they might make you an initial offer. Instead of immediately accepting, it’s always prudent to have your damages accurately estimated and compared to the settlement amount with the help of an experienced attorney.

When you hire a Connecticut car accident lawyer to work on your case, they will assess fault, total up your existing medical expenses, make projections about your future accident-related costs, and advocate for you to get a fair settlement amount. They’ll also help you understand the fine print of any terms you’re offered before you sign paperwork.

Get Help From a Connecticut Personal Injury Attorney Today

Distracted driving is a form of negligence. When a driver prioritizes answering texts and checking notifications above watching the road, they put everyone at risk.

If you happen to cross paths with a distracted driver, you’ll want a trusted personal injury attorney on your side to advocate for your rights. Bert McDowell has years of experience successfully representing accident victims.

He also has a unique perspective as a former attorney for insurance companies. Since Bert understands both sides of the personal injury equation, he knows how to attain a fair outcome for everyone involved.

Speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your case today by calling (203) 590-9169 or filling out the online contact form to schedule a free case review.