JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING THE USE OF HAND-HELD MOBILE TELEPHONES AND MOBILE ELECTRONIC DEVICES BY MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATORS.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Transportation Committee Bill
Co-sponsor Rep. Frank N. Nicastro, 79th
REASONS FOR BILL:
To eliminate suspending fines by showing that a hands free device was purchased, to increase the penalty for cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle and to provide municipalities with twenty-five per cent of the amount received with respect to each summons issued by such municipality for a violation of this section.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY – COMMISSIONER DANAHER, III
THE DEPARTMENT SUPPORTS EFFORTS TO COMBAT DISTRACTED DRIVING AND FULLY SUPPORTS TH ELIMINATION OF LANGUAGE PROVIDING THAT A FIRST TIME VIOLATOR CAN HAVE THE FINE SUSPENDED BY SHOWING PROOF OF SUBSEQUENT PURCHASE OF A HANDS FREE DEVICE. – HE FEELS SUFFICIENT TIME HAS PASSED FOR THE PUBLIC TO BE EDUCATED ABOUT THE BAN AND TO HAVE PURCHASED HANDS FREE DEVICES.
IN ADDITION, FULLY SUPPORT LANGUAGE TO MAKE IT EXPRESSLY CLEAR THAT TEXTING IS A VIOLATION .
Governor M. Jodi Rell – Technology is a profound advancement, but when used irresponsibly it is exceedingly hazardous. We must send a strong message with this legislation that the state will have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to texting while driving and using hand-held phones. If you are caught texting or using a hand-held cell phone, you pay a fine for the first violation, No second chances.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
State of Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice – Kevin Kane Chief State's Attorney
Susan Naide, Senior Assistant State's Attorney
“This bill recognizes the tremendous increase in awareness, both nationally and here in Connecticut, of the serious hazard posed by distracted driving in all forms.” SB 427 supports these increased enforcement efforts by giving municipalities 25 percent of the amount received as a result of summonses issued by the police in the municipality. With increased enforcement and the end of the Special exception for first-time offenders, the state should collect more revenue than it does now even after the new share to the municipalities is deducted
Connecticut Police Chiefs Association – Chiefs Anthony Salvatore and James Strillacci - A study by the Transport Research Laboratory showed that driving while texting was more dangerous than drunk driving. The National Safety Council estimates that a minimum of 200,000 crashes each year are caused by drivers who are texting.
We hope that this bill will get drivers' attention, and get their attention back on the road.
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers - “Have long recognized the risks of distracted driving and support appropriate laws with high-visibility enforcement and appreciates the opportunity to work with the Legislature to support legislation that addresses the issue of driver distraction, while also preserving opportunities in the vehicle to enhance safety.
They are concerned that the bill would inadvertently prohibit the use of devices that rely on text-based communication that are physically and electronically integrated into the motor vehicle.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Reported by: Mary Anderson
Assistant Clerk, Transportation Committee
Date: March 16, 2010