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WPD Officers Educate More than 400 Drivers Violating the Hands Free Law

For Immediate Release: 9/28/2021 4:38 pm

Over the past month, the Worcester Police Department’s Traffic Division offered reminders to more than 400 drivers about the Hands-Free Law and the dangers of distracted driving instead of ticketing. It’s all part of the “ “Eyes Up, Phones Down Worcester”  campaign which was created by a partnership that includes the City of Worcester, the Worcester County District Attorney’s office, the Worcester Police Department, the Worcester Public Schools and the Safe Roads Alliance.

 The public safety awareness campaign was re- launched over the summer to encourage residents to avoid both distracted driving and distracted walking in order to reduce motor vehicle crashes and increase pedestrian safety.

 The Hands Free Law has been in place since February 23, 2020 but many people forgot about the legislation when the pandemic arrived.

 The Worcester Police Department decided to take an education-first approach as the “Eyes Up, Phones Down” campaign relaunched in August. When officers observed a distracted driver they took the opportunity to educate them about the law. Officer reported that many violators were using their GPS while driving and did not realize that the device must be affixed the dashboard, center console or windshield.

 Drivers are reminded that only one tap on the screen is allowed to activate hands free use. Under the law, drivers can no longer manually enter a number or program a GPS while driving.

 In addition, officers reported that a large number of teenagers were unaware of the law. Drivers under 18 are banned from all phone use, including use of all other electronics.

 

The one month grace period has now ended and officers will begin handing out tickets.

 First offense violations of the law come with a $100 fine, a second offense is a $250 penalty and the driver must take a distracted driving course, and subsequent violations are $500 each which is surchargeable to your insurance.

 Our partners at the Safe Roads Alliance offer several tips that we recommend:

-Program your GPS before you drive

-Call and text anyone before you depart to let them know you will be driving and won’t be using your phone -If you have an iPhone, go into settings and enable “do not disturb” while driving. If you have an android, download the “DriveMode” app. These features will silence incoming calls and texts and will send an automatic response to let people know you are driving.

 

 

The public safety awareness campaign was re- launched over the summer to encourage residents to avoid both distracted driving and distracted walking in order to reduce motor vehicle crashes and increase pedestrian safety.

The Hands Free Law has been in place since February 23, 2020 but many people forgot about the legislation when the pandemic arrived.

The Worcester Police Department decided to take an education-first approach as the “Eyes Up, Phones Down” campaign relaunched in August. When officers observed a distracted driver they took the opportunity to educate them about the law. Officer reported that many violators were using their GPS while driving and did not realize that the device must be affixed the dashboard, center console or windshield.

Drivers are reminded that only one tap on the screen is allowed to activate hands free use. Under the law, drivers can no longer manually enter a number or program a GPS while driving.

In addition, officers reported that a large number of teenagers were unaware of the law. Drivers under 18 are banned from all phone use, including use of all other electronics.

The one month grace period has now ended and officers will begin handing out tickets.

First offense violations of the law come with a $100 fine, a second offense is a $250 penalty and the driver must take a distracted driving course, and subsequent violations are $500 each which is surchargeable to your insurance.

Our partners at the Safe Roads Alliance offer several tips that we recommend:

-Program your GPS before you drive
-Call and text anyone before you depart to let them know you will be driving and won’t be using your phone -If you have an iPhone, go into settings and enable “do not disturb” while driving. If you have an android, download the “DriveMode” app. These features will silence incoming calls and texts and will send an automatic response to let people know you are driving.

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