Crash fatalities have seen a historic increase over the past two years, with traffic safety experts pointing to the growing number of distracted drivers as one of the leading factors. Nationally in 2015, 3,477 people were killed and nearly 400,000 injured in crashes involving distracted drivers. That’s a 9 percent increase in fatalities as compared to the previous year.
With April marking National Distracted Drive Awareness Month, the Highway Safety Division (HSD) is launching its “Drive Present” campaign, to stress to drivers the importance of focusing on the road and not on their phones. Driving present is about being engaged in the moment: aware of your surroundings, ready to react when the situation changes. When you’re behind the wheel, you owe it to the people you love to focus only on the task at hand. Why? Because they’re counting on you to make it home safe.
DPD will be launching an enforcement campaign to run alongside HSD's educational efforts. Partnering with up to 202 local police departments, as well as State Police, officers will be out enforcing the Safe Driving Law which became effective on September 30, 2010. Among other provisions, the law bans sending, typing or reading electronic messages to or from handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle. This includes use of the internet and text messaging. The law bans all handheld electronic devices by junior operators while behind the wheel. For more information, read the Safe Driving Law Summary.
The mobilization begins April 7 and continues through April 28.
“Driving and texting is illegal and irresponsible. People who break our state’s texting law will be stopped and fined. Distracted driving is a major problem in Massachusetts, and we’re trying to keep the public safe by fining violators. If you drive and text, you will pay.” said Lt. Michael Carbone.