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Texting While Driving: An Illegal and Potentially Deadly Habit for Massachusetts Drivers

cell phone2If you read this blog regularly, you may recall our New Year’s post urging drivers in Hyannis and Plymouth to include safer driving habits among their resolutions. In that post, we discussed the importance of avoiding poor driving practices such as distracted driving and driving while impaired. If your commitment to that resolution faded as quickly as your plan to lose 10 pounds and learn to play the cello, perhaps it’s time for some new motivation.

First of all, there is the very real possibility that your poor driving habits, especially texting while driving, could cause a serious automobile accident. Although many drivers think they can scan a text or make a quick phone call without it affecting their driving, the statistical fact is that nearly one in four traffic accidents nowadays involves a cell phone.

Massachusetts Laws Concerning Cell Phone Usage

Many states, including Massachusetts, have banned texting while driving.  Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90 § 13B specifically outlaws the use of a mobile telephone or any handheld device to manually compose, send, or read an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle. Violation of this law is punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, by a fine of $250 for a second offense, and by a fine of $500 for a third or subsequent offense. Massachusetts drivers under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license may not use a cell phone at all while operating an automobile. Even “hands free” phone use by these young drivers is prohibited. Bus drivers are likewise prohibited from all cell phone use. In Massachusetts, distracted driving laws are “primary” laws, meaning that a law enforcement officer can stop a motorist and issue a citation for texting even if he or she wasn’t otherwise breaking the law.

Teaching by Example

If your own personal safety and the threat of criminal prosecution aren’t enough to convince you to put down your phone while behind the wheel, consider this. Children learn by our example. From uttering their first words to taking their first steps, babies and young children learn how to do things by watching their parents. When a toddler turns into a teenager with a brand new driver’s license, whose habits – including texting or talking on a cell phone while driving – do you suppose he or she will emulate when getting behind the wheel? When you’re ready to have a serious conversation about the dangers of distracted driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some great tools for talking to your teen driver on its Parents Central website.

If You Have Been Injured by a Distracted Driver

At the Law Office of John C. Manoog, we see many car accident cases that could have been avoided if the driver had simply paid attention to the road instead of sending that “LOL” message that he or she thought couldn’t wait. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a motor vehicle accident involving cell phone use, call us at 888-262-6664 to discuss the details of your case. If you prefer, you can contact us online.

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Hyannis and Plymouth Massachusetts: Make Safe Driving Habits a New Year’s Resolution