You’ve heard about it, read about it, maybe even seen it happen – texting while driving is here and on the rise, and so are the number of texting related accidents. Some have had serious consequences.
For example, a May 2009 crash occurred on the MBTA Green Line while a 24 year old trolley driver was texting his girl friend. Forty-six people were injured, the driver lost his job and the accident cost the MBTA an estimated $9.6 million. In June 2012, an 18 year old Haverhill youth was convicted of motor vehicle homicide by texting and sentenced to two years in prison.
Massachusetts has responded by amending G.L. c. 90. The new law bans the use of mobile phones, hands-free phones and any mobile electronic device by anyone under 18 years old while driving. It also bans texting outright by any motor vehicle operator, no matter their age.
For some, these and other changes in the law are controversial. Enforcement, for example, may be difficult. But, in this social media age, the social message is clear, choose safety – and life – over convenience.