OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 427 (File 235, as amended by Senate "A")*

AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF HAND-HELD MOBILE TELEPHONES AND MOBILE ELECTRONIC DEVICES BY MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATORS.

SUMMARY:

This bill increases fines for drivers who use a cell phone or mobile electronic device while driving, specifies that it is illegal to text while driving a moving vehicle, and makes other changes to the law against using a cell phone while driving.

Specifically, it:

1. replaces the maximum $ 100 fine for all offenses with fines of $ 100 for the first violation, $ 150 for a second violation, and $ 200 for subsequent violations;

2. eliminates the requirement that judges suspend the fine for a first offender who acquires a hands-free accessory before the fine is imposed;

3. specifies that it is illegal for a driver to type, send, or read text messages on a hand-held cell telephone or mobile electronic device while operating a moving motor vehicle, and

4. requires the state to remit 25% of the amount it receives from each summons to the municipality that issues the summons.

It requires each Superior Court clerk, the chief court administrator or any official the administrator designates, by the 30th day of January, April, July, and October, annually, to certify to the comptroller the amount due for the previous quarter to each municipality served by that clerk or official.

As with the law against using hand-held cell phones while driving, the texting ban does not apply in emergency situations or to any of the following people while performing their official duties: peace officers, firefighters, ambulance and emergency vehicle drivers, or members of the military when operating a military vehicle. The ban on texting has no legal effect because current law already prohibits drivers from engaging in any activity unrelated to operating a motor vehicle that interferes with its safe operation.

*House Amendment “A” eliminates a provision that imposed a $ 500 fine on a driver who commits a moving violation, in addition to the penalty imposed for the moving violation, if the driver commits the moving violation while engaged in an activity (a) unrelated to operating the vehicle that interferes with its safe operation and (b) that results in an accident. It also specifies how the courts must certify the amount due from the summonses issued by each municipality.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

COMMITTEE ACTION

Transportation Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

36

Nay

0

(03/16/2010)

Planning and Development Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

14

Nay

3

(04/14/2010)

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

39

Nay

0

(04/20/2010)

Public Safety and Security Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

17

Nay

0

(04/29/2010)