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We hope to use this site as a way to share information with, and receive information from, our community members in the town of Amherst. If one of our posts is of interest to you, please add a comment. You can also visit our website at www.amherstpd.org for other valuable information.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Distracted Driving Initiative

The Amherst Police Department will be conducting an educational and enforcement initiative on the Safe Driving Law which was signed by Governor Patrick and became effective on September 30, 2010. The department’s distracted driving campaign will be conducted from November 14, 2011 to November 18, 2011.

Among other provisions, the Safe Driving Law bans sending, typing or reading electronic messages to or from handheld devices while operating a motor vehicle. This includes use of the internet and text messaging. The law bans the use of all handheld electronic devices by junior operators while behind the wheel. This law prohibits activities that studies have shown to negatively impact driving ability as much as driving while impaired by alcohol.

For everyone who thinks they can talk on their phone, text, apply make-up or perform any other distracting activity while driving, it’s time for a crash course in reality from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

• In 2009, almost 5,500 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver, and nearly 450,000 were injured. (NHTSA)

• Drivers who use handheld devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

• Twenty percent of injury crashes in 2009 involved reports of distracted driving. (NHTSA)

• Younger, inexperienced drivers under 20 years old have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. (NHTSA)

Under the new safe driving laws, law enforcement will be able to pull over any driver suspected of using a mobile electronic device for texting or accessing the internet. First time offenders are subject to a $100 fine. Junior operators observed using a cell phone can also be cited and subject to a $100 fine and the loss of their license for 60 days. Teen offenders will also be required to take a driver retraining course through the National Safety Council.

The Amherst Police Department Issues a Reminder to the Public: Put It Down! …your life is worth more than a conversation!

If you have questions concerning this mobilization please contact Sergeant Todd Lang at 413-259-3000 or via email. For additional information visit www.amherstpd.org, http://www.distraction.gov/, or www.mass.gov/rmv


Aly said...

Hi Ptlm. Frydryk - I work for a personal injury law firm here in Houston, Texas. We've seen the number of cases and injuries from distracted driving increase significantly. People don't realize that distracted driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving - and if they do, they think it can never happen to them. Anything we can do to raise awareness and curb the practice is a good thing.

Anyways, thanks for sharing! - Aly

Chad said...

It seems like no big deal to text and drive until you cause an accident. I just hope the masses will realize this before too many people get hurt.