Texting and driving is illegal in Massachusetts and 41 other states. However, some drivers are claiming ignorance of the law, and it could cost them a $100 ticket. One trooper with more than two decades of experience on patrol sees too many people on their electronic devices as they drive. He expressed his concern that distracted driving can cause car accidents, and added that he wants to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities.
A state-wide program that began on June 5 will focus on enforcing the prohibition of texting and driving. Funded by a grant from NHTSA, it will last for the next two years for two- to four-week time frames in a dozen communities patrolled by Troop A. The purpose of the grant is to educate and support nearly 200 law enforcement officers to note the telltale signs of texting and driving.
The program will act as a pilot for the other states in the nation that have made texting and driving illegal. They will give information on the program’s effectiveness to other jurisdictions. Although the laws are in place in Massachusetts and other states, they are challenging to enforce. The danger of texting and driving prompted NHTSA to offer the grant in order to promote awareness and increase highway safety.
Statistics show that nearly one-fourth of all accidents in the nation involve a hand-held device. About 3,000 fatalities and 400,000 injuries annually are due to distracted driving, and the distraction often is some type of electronic device. Other statistics show that someone who texts and drives increases the risk of getting into an accident by 23 times.
A personal injury attorney might be able to help clients determine if the accident they suffered was due to a distracted driver. If so, the attorney might help clients request appropriate compensation.
Source: Eagle Tribune, “Troopers crack down on texting drivers,” Bill Kirk, June 6, 2013