Back on Feb. 23, Massachusetts’ new law banning the use of handheld devices while driving went into effect. From then until July 23, state troopers issued a total of 1,826 tickets or warnings for distracted driving. The real question is, has the law done anything for reducing distracted driving car accidents in the commonwealth?
While it is probably too soon to tell if the law is having a positive effect, transportation officials said that the number of fatal crashes doubled in April. This happened despite the hands-free statute and the lockdown that was in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We don’t know how many, if any, of those deaths were due to a distracted driver, but it would not be surprising to learn that cellphone use contributed to at least a few of those incidents.
Number of tickets, warnings are going up
Meanwhile, South Coast Today asked an anti-distracted driving activist, who said that he observes as many drivers using their phones as he did before hands-free became the law. While that is just one man’s opinion, the upward trend of tickets and citations that state troopers issued from April to late July could suggest that few distracted drivers are changing their behavior:
- April: 117
- May: 556
- June: 675
- July through the 23rd: 478
The fine for a first offense is $100, which goes up to $500 for a third or subsequent offense. Also, a second or subsequent offense requires the driver to complete a distracted driving educational program. Hopefully, as repeat offenders get sick of paying tickets, they might learn to put their phones down while driving.
Distracted drivers should pay for the harm they cause
In the meantime, if a driver crashes into your vehicle while using their phone, you could have a strong case for complete compensation for your injuries. Auto accidents can be serious, and give innocent people long-term or permanent disabilities. Contact a personal injury lawyer in your area to find out more.