The Massachusetts State Police will be cracking down on distracted driving this week. Motorists can expected increased scrutiny and hefty penalties for texting while driving and other activities that take their attention off the road.
Lieutenant Stephen Walsh is leading the initiative. He says the program will last until through Saturday and will be focus primarily on texting, but Walsh says distracted driving comes in many forms.
“Distracted driving is hardly new. It’s been around forever,” said Walsh. “It can be eating a sandwich while you’re driving, or a dog on the lap. Earbuds today or head phones of yester-year while you’re driving. Virtually anything on the vehicle or any action taken by the driver that takes away from the primary responsibility of safe operation.”
State police will use both marked and unmarked cruisers and plainclothes officers stationed as “spotters” in high traffic areas. Walsh says that method is particularly effective but requires more troopers in the field.
Over 3,000 drivers were killed in 2012 by crashes where distracted driving was a factor, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.