DA Early Urges Drivers to Put Down Phones

August 22, 2013

Aug. 22, 2013

For Immediate Release

Contact: Paul Jarvey (508) 368-7241

WORCESTER — As new school year is about to begin, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. is warning young drivers not to text behind the wheel.

“Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for teen-agers, and drivers are 23 times more likely to get into an accident if they are texting,” Mr. Early said.

It has been illegal to text and drive for all operators in Massachusetts since 2010. Drivers under 18 are banned from using cell phones, including hands-free devices.

Mr. Early said that while cars have become safer and the number of highway fatalities has declined over the last four decades, serious crashes continue.

“Many of these crashes could be avoided by putting the cell phone out of reach,” Mr. Early said. “A driver pecking out a short text at 60 mph can travel the length of a football field with their eyes off the road. It’s like driving for five seconds with your eyes closed.”

Mr. Early said all forms of distracted driving are dangerous, but what makes texting particularly hazardous is that it takes the drivers hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and mind off the task at hand.

Mr. Early’s message is particularly important with school starting because there will be more vehicles on the road, including school buses, and increased pedestrian traffic.

The District Attorney has made the battle against distracted driving a priority, putting on presentations at schools and before other groups throughout WorcesterCounty. Those presentations are ongoing.