Cell Phones, Makeup, and Cereal Behind Distracted Driving ‘Epidemic’ In Massachusetts, State Official Says

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2024/03/21/cell-phones-makeup-and-cereal-behind-distracted-driving-epidemic-in-massachusetts-state-official-says/

By Sam Drysdale
State House News Service

steady increase in citations shows that Massachusetts motorists continue to be distracted behind the wheel four years after a new law took effect cracking down on the practice.

But the state’s top transportation official does not need data to know that Bay State motorists are regularly engaged in behavior other than driving. She encounters it firsthand every day on her drive to work.

“If you do a commute on any major roadway — I take Route 2 — you’re seeing this every single day,” Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt said told state Department of Transportation board members Wednesday, March 20. “You’re seeing the issues as they leave the lanes. It is really, I would say, an epidemic, and we are continuing to work with the registrar and public safety to figure out how to continue to address this.”

After years with a difficult-to-enforce ban on texting while driving, then-Governor Charlie Baker in late 2019 signed a law prohibiting virtually all device use behind the wheel outside of hands-free mode. Police began enforcing it in 2020, and the number of citations issued for violating the law has climbed steadily each year since then.

The secretary urged meeting attendees and viewers to tell their friends and families:  “Please, please, please put your phone down.”

Phones are not the only issue, however, at least not on Tibbits-Nutt’s drive to and from Boston.

“I see people shaving, putting on makeup. There is a person that I drive by every day that eats cereal,” she said. “I want to get their license plates so badly, but I’m not sure I should do that, legally.”


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