Lax hands-free attitude sparks proposed CT fine hike

In response to the apparent lax attitude toward Connecticut?s hands-free driving law, leaders are looking for a change to get people?s attention.

The hands-free driving law has been on the books in Connecticut for 19 months, but most agree residents are largely ignoring the ordinance. The current fine for driving without a hands-free device is $100. Fairfield state Representative Tom Drew has proposed more than doubling that penalty to increase compliance.

Other lawmakers have proposed lowering the fine to $50 after hearing testimony that local police departments would enforce the law more frequently if the fee was less.

Norwalk Mayor Dick Moccia says enforcement is the real issue. Moccia feels police departments could better enforce the law if the state provided the proper resources.

?I think a law is important, but the message is equally important. People have to believe they?re going to get fined if they drive around with [a cell phone],? Moccia said. ?You want to enforce the laws as they are but with all the priorities our police officers have, it?s kind of difficult for them to just stop what they?re doing and go chase someone who?s talking on a cell phone.?

Drew says it is unlikely anything will change this year. However, he says the Legislature may approve money for a study on improving the current law.

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