Starting today, several new laws are going into effect in Connecticut. Here's what you need to know about several of them.
New Pedestrian Safety Law
The new law applies to marked and unmarked crosswalks and any intersection where people can walk from corner to corner. It will be the driver’s responsibility to stop or slow down when a pedestrian is attempting to cross.
Drivers who fail to yield, could face a $500 fine.
Fee for Mini Bottles of Alcohol
A five-cent fee will now be added for any mini bottles of alcohol, or nips bought.
The fees will be put toward recycling and litter cleanup efforts within the cities or towns where the nips were bought. The money can also go to anything from hiring a recycling coordinator to buying special storm drains to keep the trash out.
The fee is non-refundable so people can’t turn in their nip bottles as they would a water bottle to get the deposit back.
Medical Marijuana Dispensary Choice
Connecticut's medical marijuana patients can begin using any of the state's 18 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.
Until now, patients were required to register their designated dispensary with the Department of Consumer Protection and could only buy products from that dispensary. Now they can go to any licensed facility to purchase products.
The change comes thanks to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which allows pharmacists at marijuana dispensaries to upload real-time data when medication is dispensed, according to DCP.
The limit will be 12 total plants per household.
Seat Belt Requirement
A new law will require anyone inside a vehicle to wear a seat belt, including those in the backseat. Previously, adult passengers in the back seat were not required to wear a seat belt.
In an analysis of crashes in Connecticut between 2017 and 2020, more than 12,000 people who were sitting in the back seat were hurt and dozens died. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is hoping this new law helps change that.
“Our goal is at the DOT is zero fatalities, and it's hard to imagine. But unrestrained passengers in the backseat can become projectiles in the event of a crash, causing some serious injuries and or fatalities,” said DOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti.
Officers cannot pull you over for not buckling up, but if you're pulled over for something else such as speeding and the officer sees anyone unbuckled, they can be fined. It's a $50 fine if the driver is 18 or older. A $75 fine if the driver is under 18.
It expands the definition of domestic violence to include "coercive control," which is described as a pattern of threatening, humiliating, or intimidating acts.
The new definition will now apply to all family court proceedings, not just restraining orders.
Distracted Driving Fines Increase
Starting today, the fines for driving while distracted increase.
The fine for the first violation increases from $150 to $200.
It increases from $300 to $375 for the second offense and from $300 to $375 for the third.
The state Department of Transportation warns that Connecticut law prohibits the use of any handheld mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle.
Drivers who are 16 or 17 years of age are prohibited from using a cell phone or mobile device at any time, even with a hands-free accessory.
Ice Cream Truck Safety Law
A new bill will now require ice cream trucks to alert drivers that children are nearby.
Tristan's Law will require ice cream truck owners to install flashing lights, caution signs, signal arms and front convex mirrors on trucks by May.
Breastfeeding in the Workplace
A new law has been approved and goes into effect today that will address breastfeeding in the workplace.
According to the new law, any employee may, at her discretion, express breast milk or breastfeed on-site at her workplace during her meal or break period and an employer "shall make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location, in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in private.
Inoperable Traffic Signals
If a traffic control signal at an intersection is not working, a driver will be required to stop and proceed as though a stop sign was facing in each direction at the intersection unless a police officer directs the driver to do otherwise.