Mass. law banning texting while driving takes effect
DORCHESTER, Mass. -- A new state law that bans texting while driving took effect Thursday.
Massachusetts State Police said efforts would be made to enforce the law.
“We’re not going to encourage our officers to get into roadside arguments. If we can establish, within reasonable grounds, that they were texting they may be cited,” said Mass. State Police Lt. Stephen Walsh.
Troopers joined with officials and families who have lost loved ones in an attempt to drive home the message.
The law covers:
-- Mobile phones
-- Video games
-- Digital cameras
-- Sending e-mails, using internet on a mobile device
Exceptions to the law:
-- Emergency use
“She was just doing her morning thing, going to school,” said Melissa Martin.
Martin lost her 17-year-old daughter to texting.
“I looked at her phone after the accident, and she had been sending and receiving texts,” said Martin.
Officials set up a road course, where drivers tried to text while behind the wheel on Wednesday. Reporters were given the chance to see what it would be like to text and be forced to slam on the brakes.
Authorities emphasized that reading an electronic message or accessing the internet behind the wheel are also against the law while cars are stopped in traffic.
Several drivers are on board with breaking the habit.
“I think it’s time before more young people are hurt,” said one woman.
“If it helps. I think people in general should be careful with their cell phone use, driving,” said a man.
First time offenders are subject to a $100 fine.
A junior operator restriction is also attached to the new law. Drivers ages 16 and 17 will not be allowed to use their cell phones while driving at all. If they do, they will be cited with a $100 fine, lose their license for 60 days and will be required to take a driver retraining course.
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