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90-Day Review of Massachusetts Distracted Driving Law

Here in Massachusetts, the Distracted Driving Law took effect on September 30, 2010, which fines motorists $100 for using cell phones to call, text, or engage in internet searches while driving in an effort to reduce the risk of Massachusetts car accidents and fatalities caused by distracted driving. In a recent 90-day study of the law, police cited only 245 people for texting while driving, which for lawmakers is surprisingly low. This is likely due to the difficulty of enforcing the law and the fact that people can still appear to be an attentive driver while using a cell phone by hiding the phone.

Director of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Dr. Don Fisher, has created a driving simulation lab that tracks the driver’s eye movements while texting. Fischer says, “The risk while you’re texting is 23 times higher than while you’re not texting…when you’re texting you’re spending especially long periods of time with your eyes away from the forward roadway – much longer than the two seconds that’s barely safe.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the facts on distracted driving:
•20% of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving.
•Using a hands-free or hand-held cell phone while driving delays a driver’s reactions
as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.
•16% of all drivers under than 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes were
reported to have been distracted while driving.
•Distracted driving is reported to have claimed the lives of 5,474 people and injured
an additional 448,000 in the United States in 2009 alone.

Our experienced lawyers represent clients throughout Massachusetts who have suffered injuries or the death of a loved one because of such distracted driving accidents. If you have a question in regards to a case and would like a free consultation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sources:

245 texting-while-driving tickets in Mass., UPI.com, January 6, 2011
Maine Summit Takes Aim at Texting While Driving, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, February 16, 2011

Statistics and Facts About Distracted Driving, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
The Massachusetts car accident lawyers at Altman & Altman can advise you if you have been injured on the road.

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