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New Traffic Laws in Connecticut for 2022

Hoffkins Legal Services, LLC May 3, 2024

As an auto collision attorney who represents victims in Fairfield County, Connecticut, I am very concerned about the laws that we have in place to protect automobile drivers and pedestrians. When I interview my new clients, I am often shocked about how most of these injuries could have been avoided by simply complying with simple traffic laws. I am also shocked when I see people injured by negligence that could have been avoided if there had been a proper safety law in place. As traffic grows, our State must always be vigilant to look at ways that we can make our streets safer. The Connecticut Commissioner of the Department of Transportation has stated that the number of pedestrian injuries nationwide increased fifty five percent nationally from 2009-2018.

One of the areas of law that needed an upgrade concerns our crosswalks. I often have potential clients tell me that they think the pedestrian always has the right of way, but this is a myth. Actually, a pedestrian walking through a crosswalk is the only time that a pedestrian has the right of way over vehicle traffic.

I am gratified to see that the State of Connecticut has taken some substantial steps to make our streets safer for pedestrians in 2022. One of the most important new laws involves protecting people who are attempting to cross a street while in a crosswalk. The old law only protected people who had actually stepped off the curb and entered the cross walk. Under the new law, a pedestrian who is still on the curb but extends a party part out into traffic to indicate an intention to cross the street in a cross walk will now also have the right of way. In addition, this new law will apply to any person who extends any extension of their body into the street to indicate an intention to cross the street including a wheelchair, crutch, walking cane, walking stick, bicycle, electric bicycle, stroller, cart or a leashed or harnessed dog.

This new statute will greatly help protect people who are just stepping off the curb. In a civil suit in which a pedestrian was struck by a car just after he or she stepped into the crosswalk, a defense could always be raised that the driver didn’t have notice that the pedestrian was about to step into the crosswalk. Under this statute, the rule is clear that the driver should have slowed when he or she saw the pedestrian indicating that they were about to enter the crosswalk.

In addition, a new statute will require ice cream trucks to make drivers aware that they are stopping to protect children who might be in the area. The new statute requires ice cream trucks to install flashing lights, caution lights and signal arms and front convex mirrors by May of 2022. This statute was named Tristan’s law in memory of eleven year old Tristan Barhorst who was killed by a driver right after purchasing an ice cream at an ice cream truck.

In addition, the Connecticut Legislature also increased the fines for driving while distracted. The fine for a first time offense increased from $150 to $200. The fines increase from $300 to $375 for a second offense. Sixteen and seventeen year old drivers are not allowed to drive while using a cell phone even if using a hands free device.

This latter act by the Connecticut Legislature is particularly important. Of all the cases that I see as an auto collision attorney serving Norwalk, Connecticut, the most common type involve distracted driving. Today, too many people are distracted from their driving by talking on their cell phones, texting, or using their GPS devices. Even without such devices, people are too often just plain negligent by just not paying attention to the road. If you have been injured in an auto collision, there is a very good chance that the reason why was because of distracted driving.

Call Attorney Kevin L. Hoffkins if you have been injured by the negligence of a distracted driver at (203) 612-7015.