May 5, 2013

State threatens to blow whistle on texting drivers

The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. - Frustrated by drivers who ignore Connecticut's ban on talking and texting on hand-held cellphones, some state legislators want insurance companies to know when their customers break the law.

Lawmakers hope the prospect of higher insurance rates will finally encourage people to hang up and drive.

"When someone gets hit in the pocketbook, that's when you remember it," said Rep. Antonio "Tony" Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, co-chairman of the General Assembly's Transportation Committee.

"That's the key here, I think, to end up having some type of reporting system on that."

A bill supported by the committee's Democratic and Republican leaders and awaiting action in the House of Representatives would add distracted driving violations to the list of moving violations that would be made available to insurance companies.

Currently, if someone violates the distracted driving law, they have to pay a fine and their insurer is none the wiser.

Susan Giacalone, counsel for the Insurance Association of Connecticut, said how insurers would use such information and how the violations could affect a driver's rates vary by company. But she said the association in general welcomes any legislation that helps to reduce accidents, such as the cellphone ban concept.


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