Proposed Bill to Raise Fines for Distracted Drivers Using Cell Phones

A Connecticut lawmaker is proposing a bill to have steeper consequences for drivers distracted while on their cellphones.

State Representative Whit Betts said he will suggest to the Transportation Committee after receiving complaints about the issue from his constituents.

"For the constituents who are calling me and saying, 'please do something about this' because people are going through stop signs and not paying attention what’s going on," Betts said. 

Betts, who represents Plymouth and Bristol, wants to increase fines specifically when it comes to driving while people use their cell phone to make a call or text.

He tells NBC Connecticut he will suggest to the Transportation Committee that the first offense will cost drivers $500, the second will cost $1,000 and the third offense will cost $2,500. Betts said the driver would also have to take a special education course.

Fines under the current state law include: First offense is $150, second offense is $300 and the third offense is $500.

"It’s very hard for police to be able to prove that youre using a hand held phone while you’re driving so we really need to take a fresh look at this and really impose upon everybody," Bettts said.

The Transportation Committee has the option to send the bill to the House floor. While Betts will make his suggestion for the fines, the committee will ultimately come up with the suggested penalty.

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