Drivers in Worcester, Massachusetts, are prohibited from using a mobile device to type, send or read messages behind the wheel. Statistics show how much of a problem distracted driving is even though drivers know that it is illegal.
Distracted driving stats
Though using cellphones while driving is illegal, data shows that distracted driving has increased by 170% since 2014. Distracted driving is any activity that takes the driver’s focus off the road, such as drinking a beverage or changing the radio.
National figures show that distracted driving causes an average of 3,000 deaths annually and around 280,000 injuries.
Data shows that Massachusetts ranks 27th in the country for the most fatal motor vehicle accidents involving distracted driving. After the state passed new cellphone laws, slightly over 40,000 residents got a citation for breaking the law. While reports show that distracted driving accidents have decreased since 2018, it still accounts for 14-17% of crashes overall.
Eating and drinking behind the wheel
While eating or drinking behind the wheel isn’t always illegal, any type of distraction can increase the chance of motor vehicle accidents by 80%. Though there may not be a state law, some cities prohibit drivers from eating and drinking behind the wheel.
Eating and drinking often involves removing the hands from the wheel, and it decreases reaction time by 22%. A study revealed that a driver’s chance of an accident is 3.6 times higher eating or drinking than one who isn’t. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that eating or drinking from containers raises crash and near-crash rates by 39%.
Distracted driving in Massachusetts includes a penalty of a $100 fine for a first offense and $250 for a second offense plus license points. Drivers should make an effort to avoid distracted driving for public safety and to avoid penalties.