2014 National Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign: U Drive. U Text. U Pay.

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April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Massachusetts state and local police departments will voluntarily join a nationwide high-visibility enforcement blitz in a concerted effort to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Law enforcement personnel across the United States will be cracking down on motorists who text and drive April 10th through April 15th.   

“Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving,” said Chief Kevin Coppinger of the Lynn Police Department, and added, “all distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety.”  These types of distractions include: texting, using a cellphone, eating and drinking, grooming, reading, using a navigation system, watching a video and adjusting a radio, CD or other audio players.  Text messaging is by far the most dangerous activity because it diverts the driver’s visual, manual and cognitive attention away from the road.

According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nationwide in 2012, more than 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers, and approximately 421,000 people were injured.

Massachusetts law makes it illegal for any operator of a motor vehicle to use a mobile telephone, or any handheld device capable of accessing the internet, to manually compose, send or read an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle. Fines start at $100 and can be as high as $500 for subsequent offenses.  Drivers under the age of eighteen are also subject to license or permit suspension for up to one year.

 “All motorists need to know that Massachusetts is serious about stopping this deadly behavior. Driving and texting has reached epidemic levels, and enforcing the law is part of the cure,” said Massachusetts State Police Superintendent, Colonel Timothy Alben. 

Courtesy of  Commonwealth Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Released 4/7/2014, Contact:  Art Kinsman 617-725-3307

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