April 18, 2016

Penalties for Causing a Fatality When Texting While Driving

OLR Report 2015-R-0280 provides Connecticut’s and other states’ penalties for causing a fatality when texting while driving.  While there is no specific penalty in Connecticut, we found five states (Alaska, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, and Utah) that have enacted laws for such a crime.

In Connecticut, the offense of texting while driving is punishable by fines of $150, $300, and $500 for a first, second, or subsequent offense, respectively.  When a driver causes a fatality while texting, a prosecutor may charge the driver with applicable crimes not specifically related to illegal cell phone use, such as negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, misconduct with a motor vehicle, or 2nd degree manslaughter, among others. 

Penalties in the states previously mentioned range from misdemeanors punishable by up to one year imprisonment to felonies with prison sentences of up to 15 years for a first conviction. Misdemeanor fines range from a maximum of $2,500 to a maximum $10,000 and felony fines range from a maximum of $5,000 to a maximum of $250,000.

For specific details on each state’s penalties, click here to read the full report.