Local police are ready to enforce new texting ban

September 22, 2010
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Put the Sidekick phone down and step away from the car.

It won’t be quite that harsh or dramatic, but Revere Police are ready to start enforcing the statewide No Texting Law next Thursday, September 30.

“Officers will be prepared to write tickets when they have good enough evidence that people are texting while driving,” said Capt. Michael Murphy. “Regardless of enforcement of the statute, though, it is the right thing to do in regards to people not texting while driving because it absolutely does lead to motor vehicle crashes.”

Specifically, the law calls for police to cite anyone of any age who is caught texting, reading a text or an e-mail while operating a motor vehicle – including at stoplights. That infraction will result in a $35 ticket for those 18 and over. It will not be an infraction that will affect auto insurance rates for drivers.

For those under 18, the law calls for a texting ban and also a complete ban on cell phone usage. Any person under 18 caught using an electronic device for any purpose while driving will be subject to a $100 fine and a 60-day suspension of their driver’s license.

Those 18 and over are allowed to speak on a cell phone while driving.

An infraction is a primary offense, meaning that one can be stopped by police for that matter only.

Statewide, police leaders have voiced concerns about enforcing the new law, and Revere Police have the same concerns.

“It will be very difficult to ascertain what people are doing,” said Murphy. “I operate in an unmarked vehicle and I do see people [texting]. You can pretty much see what they’re doing. Can I prove what they’re doing? I don’t know about that…but you intuitively know what they’re doing. You can tap the horn or the siren and get their attention and get them to quit. Theoretically, you could get their phone records to prove it, but it would be hard to justifying subpoenaing phone records for a $35 ticket.”

He continued, “I do think this will discourage people from doing this, and that is good. There will be some enforcement and I’m sure we’ll write some tickets.”

The law goes into effect next Thursday, Sept. 30th.

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