Approximately nine percent of fatal crashes have involved a distracted driver, and an estimated 400,000 people were injured due to distracted drivers. So, how does this distracted driving issue affect the Massachusetts community?
With Massachusetts being a populous state with many large cities, transportation becomes an issue with a great amount of risk. Add in the usage of mobile devices behind the wheel, the risk augmented even more. From 2014-2016, the number of distracted crashes has risen 170 percent. In 2016, there were 40,200 vehicle related deaths, a 14 percent death increase. People most likely to be involved with distracted driving accidents are people between the ages 16-24. Teenagers and young adults are the least experienced drivers, but also the people most glued to their phones. People of ages 16-24 make up about 20 percent of the Massachusetts population, therefore increasing the dangers on the road. As someone who has been driving for less than a year and is still practicing, going out onto the road is a scary thing. I often see people holding their phone while driving, not paying attention to the road, teens texting or goofing around, all within a few neighboring towns. All these issues concern me everytime I drive, and I also worry for family members and friends out driving.
Massachusetts has been combating this issue for a long period of time. A Safe Driving Law (banning sending, typing, or reading electronic messages from a handheld device while using a motor vehicle) was enacted in 2010. It was ineffective, as police found it hard to tell from a distance of whether the driver was calling or texting. The new law enacted in February 2020 prohibits any use of electronic devices white operating a motor vehicle unless it is being used hands-free. Fines from $100-$500 will also be issued for offenses. To further combat this issue, many who have lost loved ones due to distracted driver accidents have stepped up to advocate for tougher laws and better reinforcement. To help drivers in communities, signs should be put up along the roadside to remind drivers not to pick up their phone. Increased security cameras and checkings should also take place to catch those who are violating the law.
Blosfield, Elizabeth. "Hold the Phone: Massachusetts' Hands-Free Driving Law to Take Effect".
https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/east/2020/02/21/559047.htm#:~:text=Between%202014%20and%202018%2C%20there,killed%20in%20Massachusetts%20in%202018. Accessed 19 Aug 2020.
"Distractology: MA Distracted Driving Statistics 2017". Encharter Insurance.
https://www.encharter.com/distractology-distracted-driving-statistics-2017/. Accessed 19 Aug 2020.
"Distracted Driving". Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
https://www.mass.gov/service-details/distracted-driving. Accessed 19 Aug 2020.
"MA Demographic Statistics". Infoplease.
https://www.infoplease.com/us/census/massachusetts/demographic-statistics. Accessed 19 Aug
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