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Distracted driving

Keeping your eyes on the road while driving is critical to traffic safety for all.

Just Drive New England

The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), Office of Grants and Research-Highway Safety Division has partnered with the other five New England states in the first New England-wide, coordinated distracted driving education campaign.  “Just Drive New England” will take place during the month of April as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and will coincide with a national enforcement mobilization.

Crash fatalities increased at an alarming rate in 2016.  In Massachusetts, traffic deaths jumped 12.8 percent (from 345-389), more than double the national rate (5.6 percent).   Nationally, there were 5,987 pedestrian deaths, the highest total since 1990.  Traffic safety experts point to the growing number of distracted drivers as one of the leading factors of these spikes in fatalities.

You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in - including talking or texting on your phone, checking social media or apps, eating, and fiddling with the navigation system - is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.

All six New England States have come together to raise awareness and reduce the needless deaths and injuries caused by driver inattention.  Given our proximity, having a clear and coordinated messaging campaign will consistently remind drivers to stay focused and engaged when driving.

Remember, when you get behind the wheel- just drive.

Additional Resources for Just Drive New England

10 tips for managing driver distractions

  1. Turn it off. Turn your phone off or switch to silent mode before you get in the car. Or better yet, put the phone away in a place it cannot be accessed while driving.
  2. Spread the word. Set up a special message to tell callers that you are driving and you'll get back to them as soon as possible, or sign up for a service that offers this.
  3. Pull over. If you need to make a call, pull over to a safe area first.
  4. Use your passengers. Ask a passenger to communicate for you.
  5. X the text. Don't ever text and drive, surf the web or read your email while driving. It is dangerous and against the law in most states.
  6. Know the law. Familiarize yourself with state and local laws before you get in the car. 
  7. 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 or pull over to a safe location to review the map and/or directions. 
  8. Secure your pets. Pets can be a big distraction in the car. Always secure your pets properly before you start to drive.
  9. Keep the kids safe. Pull over to a safe location to address situations with your children in the car.
  10. Focus on the task at hand. Refrain from smoking, eating, drinking, reading and any other activity that takes your mind and eyes off the road.

Additional Resources for 10 tips for managing driver distractions

Massachusetts' Safe Driving Law

Massachusetts has had a Safe Driving Law effective as of 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 electronic by junior operators while behind the wheel. 

Read the entire summary of the Safe Driving Law on the Registry of Motor Vehicles website

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