State Police to Crack Down on Texting While Driving

Do you text while you drive?

Texting while driving has been illegal in Massachusetts since 2010, but police around the country have said the law is difficult to enforce.

Forty percent of Massachusetts drivers say they still text while driving despite a nearly three-year-old law banning such activity and preventing any cell phone use for drivers under 18 years old, according to a poll conducted by Plymouth Rock Assurance.

With the help of a federal grant, Massachusetts State Police will begin a statewide crackdown on the illegal and dangerous practice in June.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded the state a $ 275,000 federal grant to increase enforcement of the Safe Driving Law, which bans the sending, typing or reading of electronic messages to or from handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle and a complete ban on the use of all handheld electronic devices by junior operators while behind the wheel, according to a state police press statement Tuesday.

The law was enacted in Massachusetts on Sept. 30, 2010.

The program, called “Text With One Hand, Ticket In The Other,” will make use of a “high visibility enforcement” model which uses informational road signs, command posts other tools which make the enforcement obvious to the public, according to the NHTSA website.

This specialized enforcement will take place in two to four week intervals over the next two years, according to the police statement. The first installment will occur from June 10-29 on state roadways in Andover, Dracut, Dunstable, Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro and Wilmington.

A recent National Safety Council study has shown that nationwide, 24 percent of all crashes are related to the use of handheld electronic devices while driving, the statement says. As many as 3,000 deaths per year are caused by distracted driving, according to Boston Medical Center. 

SOUTH END PATCH: Facebook | Twitter | E-mail Updates 

South End Patch