safe_drivingThere is a lot of press recently about texting while driving all over our country but particularly in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Many states have banned texting while driving. There are commercials on TV about texting while driving. There are signs on the roads about texting while driving.

In September 2010, the Safe Driving Law in Massachusetts became effective. This law created a series of both civil and criminal violations for use of a mobile phone by a teen or by a pubic transportation operator, improper use of a mobile phone by an adult operator, texting while driving and causing injury after texting while driving. Though there were other sections related to medical issues and age issues, the texting component seemed to be the most talked about one.

You can learn more about this law by reading the following summary at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation:

http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/rmv/safedrivinglawsummary.aspx

Yesterday, a jury found a Haverhill teen guilty of causing injury to another while driving and using his mobile phone. The Commonwealth alleged that because a teen was texting while he was driving, he caused an accident that killed a NH man and injured his girlfriend. Evidence was introduced to show that the teen had been texting all day and that he was texting just before the accident and just after it. He was sentenced to two and a half years in the house of correction. Due to his lack of record, he is only ordered to serve one year and then have the remainder “suspended” during a probationary period. That means that if he does not follow the terms and conditions of his probation, he could be sentenced to the remainder (one and a half years) of the sentence. It would depend on the facts and circumstances of any violation and the decision of the court at that time. This was one of the first cases charged under this new law in the Commonwealth.

Studies show that the distraction of texting (or reading email, surfing the web, etc.) while driving is comparable to closing your eyes for as much as the length of a football field. Texting while driving may sem harmless, but if you take the time to read these studies, you may change your mind about picking up that cell phone in your car. Nobody says you can’t make the call or send the text. Just pull over first.

Stay safe! No more texting while drivig!