Last Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate included and approved in its version of the state budget an amendment banning Internet use while driving-this includes text messaging, emailing, or surfing the Web while operating a motor vehicle. Bus drivers, train operators, trolley drivers, and the drivers of other public transit vehicles would be banned from holding a cell phone while driving and would only be allowed to carry the device for emergency purposes. Transit drivers that violate the ban would be fined $500. Drivers would have to pay an insurance surcharge, in addition to a $75 fine.
The amendment is intended to prevent Massachusetts motor vehicle accidents from occurring because motorists are texting while driving and comes one day after Rebecca Solomon, a Methuen teen driver, died in a single-car collision. Police are trying to determine whether the 18-year-old high school senior was texting while driving.
Earlier this month, the MBTA imposed an emergency cell phone ban on its vehicle operators following a multi-trolley crash occurred right after the trolley driver had been text messaging with his girlfriend. Nearly 50 people were injured in the Boston MBTA accident.
According to a study commissioned by Vlingo, a Cambridge, Massachusetts speech-recognition technology maker for cell phones, 1 in 4 US drivers say they text message while driving, with younger drivers more likely to engage in this form of distracted driving behavior than their older counterparts. Among those surveyed:
• Almost 60% of teen drivers say they text and drive.
• 49% of 20 – 29 year-olds send and receive texts while operating a motor vehicle.
• 13% of motorists over 50 text while driving.
• 83% of the 4,816 online survey participants think texting while driving should be banned.
Time and again, texting while driving is proving to be a dangerous habit that can cause serious motor vehicle injuries or deaths. Teenagers that text while driving are a high-risk group when it comes to getting involved in or causing a Boston motor vehicle crash. A new Nielsen study says the average teen sends almost 80-text messages daily. The habit, which even adults find hard to break, can prove fatal when an inexperience teen driver is texting while behind the steering wheel of a car.
Massachusetts Senate Budget Bans Texting while Driving, Insurance Journal, May 26, 2009
Mass. high school student dies in car crash, Telegram.com, May 21, 2009
Driving While Texting Still Popular Despite Bans: Survey, VOXEO, May 20, 2009
Related Web Resources:
Cell Phone Driving Laws, GHSA
National Safety Council
If someone you love was seriously injured or died in a Boston car accident because another person was text messaging, you may be entitled to Massachusetts personal injury recovery. Contact our Boston personal injury law firm today.