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Last updated: 11/1/18

Tackling distracted driving

Texting, talking, using a map — anything other than driving — is dangerous. You should never take your attention away from the road.

You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.

WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING?

Distracted driving is when a driver focuses their attention on an activity other than driving. You are driving distracted if you are reading or sending texts, looking at directions, changing the music, or talking to other people in the car.

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Watch: Just Drive

Safety tips

Turn it off. Turn your phone off before you get in the car. Or, put the phone away in a place it cannot be accessed while driving.

Pause notifications. Set your phone to turn off notifications while you drive. You change your settings on an iPhone or download an app that can detect when you are driving and automatically send a response to incoming texts.

Pull over. If you need to make a call or look up directions, pull over to a safe area first.

Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to communicate or navigate for you.

X the text. Don't ever text, surf the web, or read your email while driving. It is dangerous and against the law in most states.

Prepare. Start your GPS or review maps and directions before you start to drive. If you need help when you are on the road, ask a passenger to help. You can also pull over to a safe location to review the map and directions.

Keep the kids safe. Pull over to a safe location to address situations with your children in the car.

Focus on the task at hand. Don’t eat, drink, read, or do any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.

I Promise to Just Drive

  • I will not text, surf the web, or talk on my phone while driving.
  • I will be a good passenger and speak out if the driver in my car is distracted.
  • I will encourage my friends and family to drive phone-free.
Photo credit: Phil Roeder (tabor roeder on Flickr)

Help us tackle distracted driving

PARENTS
  • Parents first have to lead by example by never driving distracted.
  • Talk with your young driver about distraction and all of the responsibilities that come with driving.
  • Have everyone in the family sign the pledge to commit to distraction-free driving.
  • Remind your teen driver that a violation of distracted-driving laws could mean a fine or suspended license, or both.
EMPLOYERS
  • Employers can play a part, too! Spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. Invite someone to speak at an employee lunch. Hang posters by the water cooler.
  • Ask your employees to commit to distraction-free driving.
  • Set a company policy on distracted driving.
  • Be part of Boston’s Safest Driver campaign, re-launching in fall 2018!

Boston's Safest Driver

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Know the law in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, a Safe Driving Law has been in effect since September 2010. The 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 also bans all handheld electronics by junior operators while behind the wheel.

Use of a mobile phone or mobile electronic device by junior operators

This is a civil offense and does not result in an insurance surcharge.

  • First offense: $100, 60-day license suspension and attitudinal course
  • Second offense: $250, 180-day suspension
  • Third offense and subsequent offenses: $500, one-year suspension
Improper use of a mobile phone by operators aged 18 and over

This is a civil offense and does not result in an insurance surcharge.

  • First offense: $35 assessment
  • Second offense in 12 months: $75 assessment
  • Third offense in 12 months: $150 assessment
Sending or reading text messages

This is a civil offense and does not result in an insurance surcharge.

  • First offense: $100
  • Second offense: $250
  • Third offense and subsequent offenses: $500
Negligent operation and injury from mobile phone use by junior operators

This is a criminal offense and may result in an increase in an operator's insurance premium.

  • First offense: 180-day suspension
  • Second or subsequent offense within three years: one-year suspension
  • $500 reinstatement fee
Negligent operation and injury from mobile phone use by operators aged 18 and over

This is a criminal offense and may result in an increase in an operator's insurance premium.

  • First offense: 60-day suspension
  • Second or subsequent offense within three years: one-year suspension
  • $500 reinstatement fee

You can read the entire summary of the state law online:

Massachusetts Safe Driving Law