“New Texting and Driving Law Not Without Grey Area.”

Posted on October 29, 2010 by

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By Matthew Carlson

Business Manager

On September 30th, 2010 texting while operating a motorized vehicle became illegal in Massachusetts.  The law

Courtesy of digital trends website

imposes a fine of $100 for the first offense and $200 for the second offense.  While this law might bring relief for worrisome parents who dread sending their kids out on the road, it could also provide difficulties for police officers.   Law enforcement officers must be absolutely certain that the operators are texting and not merely searching for a contact or using a GPS feature in order to justifiably pull someone over.

It will be difficult for an officer to prove that drivers have not been looking through their phone’s contact list when they were pulled over.  Reading a text message is legal; how will police officers know the driver in question was in fact sending a text message?

The grey area on the texting and driving law leaves motorists paranoid about what is considered legal and what is not.  People who continue to text while driving will become more dangerous because they will find creative ways to hide their texting. 

“Clearly drivers did respond to the bans somehow, and what they might have been doing was moving their phones down and out of sight when they texted, in recognition that what they were doing was illegal,” said Arian Lund, president of the Highway Loss Data Institute, on the Injury Board website.  “This could exacerbate the risk of texting by taking drivers’ eyes further from the road and for a longer time.”

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Information webpage, police officers have to make a judgment call to ensure a driver was texting while operating his or her vehicle before pulling them over.  An officer can then ask the driver if he or she was texting and write them up under the drivers own admission, or choose to write the operator up on sole visual evidence.

The impact of this newly passed law is very prevalent at Worcester State University.  Texting has become part of everyday culture for college students.  Students will have to learn to adapt to this new law because it is here to stay.

 

 

 

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