The summer season is just kicking off, and it’s the perfect weather for road trips, hopping in the car and heading to a park, or just going on a leisurely, scenic drive. With more people on the roads, the chances are greater that motorists will commit traffic violations of all sorts. There are seven, though, that can be especially serious. These driving infractions in Connecticut are severe enough to not only raise your auto insurance premium but can also carry some hefty legal penalties.
- Driving without insurance:
Uninsured drivers will receive a warning notice when their insurance has been canceled or lapsed. Registrants must either enter into a consent agreement or obtain insurance and pay a fine of $200. If they do nothing, they’ll get a suspension notice in the mail; if they choose not to respond, they could face suspension of their registration as well as any renewal or registration privileges for any motor vehicle.
- Street racing/stunting:
Street racing can result in an automatic one-year suspension for drivers caught speeding, as well as a fine that can range from $75 to $600. Second offenses can lead to another one-year suspension, as well as a fine that can range from $100 to $1,000. Any damages can also lead to further charges. The act of street racing is also VERY dangerous to all motorists involved and is always discouraged outside of a legal and professional racing forum.
- Driving with a suspended license:
Driving with a suspended license is illegal in Connecticut, and can lead to criminal penalties, including fines of between $150 and $200, as well as three months of jail time for the first offense. Subsequent offenses can lead to higher fines and lengthy jail time.
- Failure to stop when signaled/Evading police:
Drivers who fail to stop when signaled by the police can face a license suspension of at least year one year and fines starting at $100, depending on the severity of the outcome. Always pull over to the right side of the road when a police cruiser signals behind you via flashing lights and/or sirens; and be sure to yield in the same manner for emergency response vehicles as well.
- DUI (driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol):
Driving under the influence can have serious repercussions. Aside from the penalties of being caught, drivers who have chosen to get behind the wheel under the influence can be responsible for extensive property damage, physical injuries, and even death. The first offense can bring a fine of $500 to $1,000. By the third offense, a driver could face up to $8,000 in fines. Drivers may also receive a license suspension, as well as potential criminal charges.
- Hit and run:
Also known as evading responsibility, a felony hit and run charge can lead to probation, between one and ten years in jail, or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Vehicular manslaughter:
There is a difference between voluntary and involuntary vehicular manslaughter. A driver who intended to injure a victim with their car and ends up killing them could be convicted of first-degree manslaughter, face up to 20 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines. On the other hand, a driver who was acting negligently and caused someone’s death accidentally may receive a punishment of up to one year in prison and $2,000 in fines.
The distractions of summer fun can sometimes take their toll and can end up costing you higher insurance premiums or much worse. Operating a motor vehicle should always be taken seriously, especially during a season of crowded roadways. Always use caution and abide by all Connecticut state driving laws when traveling anywhere to avoid traffic violations or injuries to ensure the safest, happiest summer ever!
If you believe a recent traffic infraction might threaten your current auto insurance premium, give us a call here at Waitte’s Insurance Agency. We pride ourselves in helping all motorists obtain the best possible insurance rates for over 100 years!
Summer vacation is just about here, and the fantastic weather, holiday celebrations and long weekends mean it’s time for some traveling! Whether you’re hitting the road or boarding a plane, there are a few things you can do in advance for a smooth, stress-free vacation.
Flying and Driving Tips
When you’re flying, you hope for a turbulence-free flight. Although this may be out of your control, here are a number of items you can personally plan from the time you check-in until the time you leave your destination’s airport for ‘bump-free’ travels:
1. Purchase your airline tickets early, and make sure to use your name exactly as it appears on your identification. While you might not always use your given or legal name, or the name listed on your form of identification, this is the name that officials will be looking for when you check in.
2. Arrive at the airport early. With heightened safety measures being taken by the Transportation Security Administration, the TSA lines can be long, and there can often be delays. It’s important to be ready to go when your plane is boarding, and arriving early can bring you peace of mind. It is recommended to arrive at the airport 2 hours before any domestic flight, and at least 3 hours before any international flight.
3. Update your passport. Some states have now mandated an updated passport. Research the requirements before you board, and give the government enough time to process a passport update. Typically, passport updates and renewals take about eight weeks; expediting your update for an additional fee can be done in about two to three weeks.
4. Mark your luggage. Tie a ribbon or colored strap to the handle, consider a piece of unique fabric, or find another creative way to make your luggage stand out from the crowd. This will help you move faster through when it comes time to pick up your bags.
If you choose to hit the open road this summer, preparing in advance can help prevent you from having to put the “hazard lights” on your entire trip:
1. Ensure your car has had the proper maintenance. Before you load up to leave, make sure you’ve had an oil change and checked the air pressure in your tires. If you have any hesitations, take your car in for a tune-up. Don’t forget to bring a spare tire, first aid kit, and road kit, and fill your tank up with gas before you leave.
2. Know where you’re going. Bring along a programmed navigational system. Whether you have an aftermarket GPS or your vehicle has a built-in system, make sure to program the directions before you leave, as many systems are automatically turned off when the vehicle is in motion. You should also consider bringing a fully charged cell phone and physical map as backups.
3. Never drive tired. Too many accidents happen each year because of tired drivers. Check your map before you go to find appropriate stops to sleep. Whether you find a relative’s house along the way or stop at a hotel, give yourself ample time to rest.
4. Prep for passengers: If you’re traveling with children, make the trip comfortable for them, as well. Car games, toys, electronics, snacks, drinks and special “car packs” can help keep them entertained, fed and hydrated, while cutting down on the ever-popular “Are we there yet?” question.
Finally, regardless of how you travel, always keep your house protected. Don’t post your travel plans or itinerary online. This can tip off burglars that you’ll be out of town, and will help to prevent any break-ins. It’s also a good idea to ask a trusted friend or family member to check on your home, bring in the mail, and give the impression that someone is at home.
Wherever or however you decide to travel this summer, try to take as many precautionary measures as possible to ensure a happy, safe journey for your entire family. This includes staying properly hydrated! When the beating summer sun is out, it can do unspeakable damage to the human body. For information on how heat and dehydration can hurt your body internally, click here!