The family of a Wolcott man who was killed in a crash in 2017 is speaking out against distracted driving, according to FOX61. Their hope is to encourage drivers to put down their cellphones while driving.
The fatal crash occurred when the victim was parked and loading two lawnmowers into a pickup truck. A driver - who was reportedly scanning through music on her cellphone - struck one of the lawnmowers. The victim was pinned between the lawnmower and his truck.
The victim was then rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors had no choice but to amputate his legs. By the following morning, the victim succumbed to his injuries.
"He was there, he was reliable and we lost that. Distracted driving did that to us," the daughter of the victim told FOX61.
The driver who struck the victim was later charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and was sentenced to six months in jail, along with two years probation.
How prevalent is distracted driving in Connecticut?
The Connecticut Transportation Research Center at the University of Connecticut began tracking distracted driving crashes in 2015. That was the year when they were first included in accident reports. According to driver behavior analyst Mariso Auguste (who works at the center), distracted driving crashes are often difficult to track, since they don't always leave behind any evidence. In contrast, drunk driving crashes are much easier to track, since proof can be found in an at-fault driver's blood-alcohol content level.
"Some of is it is mostly self-reported. You are relying on when the officer comes upon the scene and the person is like 'I had my cellphone in my hand,'" Auguste told FOX61.
How is the issue being addressed?
In Connecticut, using a cellphone or handheld device for any reason while driving is illegal. Only emergency workers, or those making emergency calls, are allowed to use cellphones behind the wheel. Otherwise, all cellphones must be connected through Bluetooth or a hands-free device.
The fines for cellphone use while driving in Connecticut include:
- $150 for a first offense
- $300 for a second offense
- $500 for a third or subsequent offense
The law, however, won't always stop drivers from using cellphones behind the wheel. For example, FOX61 captured several drivers using handheld devices on camera. Distracted driving doesn't always produce evidence at the scene of a crash. Connecticut police officers are employing new strategies to prevent distracted driving crashes, however.
"We do have nontraditional state vehicles on the road and hopefully those vehicles will hopefully identify drivers who are distracted," said Connecticut State Trooper Josue Dorelus.
If you were hurt in a distracted driving crash, you need an experienced attorney on your side. One who can launch an in-depth investigation. If the at-fault driver was using a cellphone at the time of the crash, the legal team at The Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone & Morelli may be able to subpoena records from their wireless company.
Sometimes, distracted drivers leave evidence behind. This can be calls made, texts sent, or posts to social media at the time of the crash. Our attorneys will gather as much evidence as possible. We will help you build a strong legal claim and maximize your compensation. To get started on your claim, contact us online and schedule your free case evaluation.