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U Drive. U Text. U Pay

by Sgt. Matthew Waugh
April 15, 2016

“Texting and driving requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving".

 

The Holliston Police Department will partner with the 202 eligible local Massachusetts law enforcement agencies and the Massachusetts State Police in the national U Drive. U Text. U Pay. mobilization to crack down on texting while driving.  The campaign, which combines traditional and innovative enforcement strategies, begins on April 8 and continues through April 29.  The initiative, a $2,500 grant, is funded by a grant administered by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division (EOPSS/HSD) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“Driving and texting is illegal and irresponsible.” said Sgt. Matthew Waugh.  Texting while driving was outlawed in Massachusetts in 2010.  Adult drivers who write, send, or read electronic messages or browse the Internet while driving face a $100 fine for a first offense – even if the vehicle is stopped in traffic.  Teen drivers under 18 are entirely prohibited from using mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving, including to make phone calls.  The fine for a juvenile first offense is $100, a 60 day license suspension, and required completion of a driver attitudinal course.

These costly violations underscore the danger inherent in Distracted Driving.  In 2014, across the United States, 3,179 people were killed and an additional 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

A 2013 study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that any activity that diverts a driver’s eyes from the road for two seconds or more, such as texting or using a mobile device, increases crash risk by a factor of three.  This level of impairment is similar to driving drunk, with a blood alcohol concentration of .08.  The average time a person looks at their phone is five seconds.  When travelling at 30MPH a car can travel well over 200 feet in that time.

“Texting and driving requires motorists to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving.  It creates the proverbial ‘perfect storm’ for a crash, and no one has the right to endanger another person like that,” said Sgt. Waugh.

 

 

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Comments (8)

I don't text and drive. And it doesn't happen often but I let Siri do it for me by pressing the Home button, say 'send so and so a text'. She'll respond with what do I want to say. I say it, she says 'do you want to send it?' I say 'yes', it's sent. When I get a text, press the Home button and say 'read me my text', and Siri recites it, asks if I want to respond. All without taking my eyes off the road.

- Kate Crocker | 2/26/17 9:53 AM

Please check out the website "Text less live more" . We all managed quite well with out phones in the car. Can your message wait until a safe stopping opportunity to call or text?

- Janet Stout | 4/15/16 10:19 PM

While I respect and appreciate everything HPD does for the town, I think that strictly enforcing some nuanced "catchall" statute is a very slippery slope. Simply dialing my phone does not mean I was "impeded" from operating my vehicle. I don't question the judgement of our police, but I do question whether or not they should be interpreting the intent of our laws. Otherwise, who knows what sort of ridiculous things might be used to issue traffic tickets - Changing the radio, sipping on a coffee, etc. The law forbids texting while driving, and unless there is reasonable evidence of that occurring I don't see how it is fair to say a motorist is breaking the law.

- Brian Gentile | 4/15/16 9:42 PM

What about officers who text? Will they be disciplined?

Dick Flavin

- Richard Flavin | 4/15/16 9:13 PM

Operating a vehicle is serious business and requires your full attention - texting or reviewing texts while driving is dangerous - if it's that important pull over, otherwise pay attention and stop endangering yourself and others

- Lee DeSorgher | 4/15/16 8:10 PM

For those who disagree with the enforcement and legality of the of the texting law our officers are trained and aware of the other options for enforcement. Chapter 90 section 13 (impeded operation) is a useful catchall violation that can be enforced when actual texting cannot be confirmed. Case law of this chapter and section include successfully charging people who looked at their phone, read a newspaper, put on makeup, and drove with a dog in their lap. If anyone has questions regarding this mobilization I encourage you to contact myself at Waugh@HollistonPolice.com and I can answer any questions you may have.

- Sgt. Matthew Waugh | 4/15/16 5:18 PM

Excuse me Sgt., but this law simply cannot be enforced! How can you tell if I'm dialing a phone number or texting? You can't. Unless there's some new technology that Cesh the K9 or one of your fancy new Dodge Chargers has, you can't tell the difference. Are you going to take my phone from me and look? The ACLU will have a field day with that. Please stop wasting my tax dollars and your time.

- James Smith | 4/15/16 9:56 AM

I am not arguing that texting and driving is dangerous but the argument used is flawed. If I move my eyes off the road to change the channel on the radio I am just as distracted as if I am reading a text. Also the law is flawed. If you get pulled over all you have to say is that you were dialing someone or looking at your GPS.

And to clarify I do not text and drive. I barley text.

Only way to give this law more teeth is to ban handheld phones in cars at all times by the driver.

- Steve Smith | 4/15/16 7:54 AM

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