New law proposed to prevent texting and driving

New law proposed to prevent texting and driving

Tiffany Cavanaugh, Reporting Staff

On April 27th, 2016, The New York Times posted an article about a new law proposal designed to prevent texting and driving. Lawmakers from New York came up with the idea of the Textalyzer, which is a device that can tell recent activity from text and internet use on someone’s phone. It does not give the police access to the content of the texts and emails, only the time of recent activity. Those who do not show their phone to police officers could have their licence suspended. The goal is to prevent drivers from using their electronic devices while behind the wheel.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction. However it works it’s great, it stops kids from getting into accidents that are potentially deadly,” said school resource officer Officer Hammond. Students like junior Alex Dotiwalla agreed. “I hope they start bring forth more about the seriousness of texting and driving,”she said.

According to The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the law currently states that an operator should not be holding any electronic device for internet use, texting, or checking messages while behind the wheel. The fines are $100 the first offense, $250 the second offense, and $500 the third offense.

The popularity of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat has only increased phone use while driving . “I believe that texting and driving is a problem in society today,” said senior Amanda Casineau. “Many people are not paying attention to the road and as a result many accidents are happening due to texting and driving.”

According to Auto Safety, more than 3,000 teenagers die from texting behind the wheel each year. More than 50% of teens text while they drive. “I have been told about accidents and when police get there, their cell phones are still open, the screen shows they are in a middle of a text,” explained Officer Hammond. “It is a terrible problem right now, especially teenagers because they text more than anyone.”

However, many people feel that the current and new laws surrounding texting and driving are  ineffective. “They have no way of knowing if you were actually texting or not. It’s hard to tell how long you were driving for and if the text was actually sent while you were driving,” said junior Abby Bourque. Senior Jimmy Oliver also felt the new law was irrelevant. “They aren’t actually preventing these kinds of accidents from happening. This will just catch distracted drivers after a potentially fatal collision,” he said.

Still, texting and driving puts everyone at risk not just the person behind the wheel. Thousands of innocent people have lost their lives as a result of an accident where the other driver was texting. Officer Hammond wants to create awareness about the situation. “They just need to wait! I don’t care if you just put it in the backseat or trunk, just DON’T take it out. Even on a red light; it turns green and they don’t even look up because they are still on the phone. It just creates problems for everyone,” he said.