Traffic Safety Laws in Connecticut
Anyone riding in the front seat of a vehicle, regardless of the occupant's age, must wear a seat belt. All rear-seat passengers between 4 and 16 years old must be restrained by an appropriate safety system.
Drivers not wearing a seat belt, or failing to ensure that occupants are wearing a seat belt, can be charged with a $92 fine. A police officer may pull a driver over solely for not wearing a seat belt.
Child Car Seat Laws
Current law requires children must ride in a proper child safety seat, in the backseat, until they reach certain age AND weight thresholds.
- Infants must ride in a rear-facing seat until they are at least 2 years old AND 30 lbs.
- Toddlers must remain in a forward-facing, five-point harness carseat until they are at least 5 years AND 40 lbs.
- Children should ride in a booster seat until they're at least 8 years old AND 60 lbs. They must have both a lap-belt and a shoulder restraint.
Failing to follow the child safety seat rules can result in a fine and an order to complete a car seat education class.
It is recommended that children under 13 years old ride in the backseat.
Anyone riding a bicycle who are 15 years old and under must wear a helmet.
The state provides practical safety information for bike riders of all ages.
Motorcycle Helmets and Eyewear
Motorcycle operators between 16 and 17 years old must wear a helmet. Drivers over 18 years old and over are required to wear a helmet if they only have a motorcycle permit, and not a motorcycle license.
Drivers of all ages must wear protective eyewear, such as goggles or glasses, unless the cycle is equipped with a windshield.
Electronic Devices and Texting
Drivers under 18 years old aren't allowed to use an electronic device (including the hands-free type) while driving. This includes personal digital assistants (PDAs) and text-messaging systems.
Motorists over 18 years old may only use hands-free devices while driving.
However, drivers of all ages are permitted to use a conventional or hands-free cell phone or electronic device in an emergency situations, such as when calling for an ambulance or contacting law enforcement.
All drivers, regardless of age, are banned from texting while behind the wheel.
Motorists may drive on studded snow tires between November 15 and April 30.
Headlights must be turned on whenever it's impossible to clearly see ahead, during periods of precipitation or fog, whenever you use your windshield wipers, and from 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.
Anyone who leaves a child under 12 years old unattended in a vehicle long enough that it represents a substantial risk to the child's well-being, could be found guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
Should this happen between 8 p.m.-6 a.m., the charge rises to a class C felony.
Reporting an Unsafe Driver
Motorists who detect a dangerous or possibly inebriated driver should call 911 to report it.