AAA Northeast officials were happy to host Gov. Charlie Baker at AAA Boston in March to show support for his proposed road safety legislation.
“We are extremely gratified to see that Governor Baker is making traffic safety a priority for this administration,” said AAA President and CEO Galvin. “For many years, our mission at AAA Northeast has been to make our roadways safer for motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and those who work at the roadside.”
Called An Act Relative to Improving Safety on the Roads of the Commonwealth, the legislation is on point with AAA efforts to strengthen traffic laws and give authorities greater ability to enforce them.
“Ensuring the safety of travelers throughout Massachusetts is very important, and we are proud to have the support of stakeholders like AAA and MADD on this commonsense legislation,” said Governor Baker. “Our roadway safety legislation targets several areas which will have a real impact on improving safety for the traveling public, including imposing greater sanctions for operating under the influence and establishing requirements for newly emerging transportation options.”
Here are some highlights.
Hands-free: The use of electronic devices by drivers would be restricted to “hands-free” mode only. Anyone operating a motor vehicle would not be allowed to touch or hold a mobile electronic device, “except to perform a single tap or swipe to activate, deactivate, or initiate hands-free mode.” The bill would permit talking, texting and other tasks to be completed by voice commands and would allow law enforcement officers to better enforce distraction laws.
Seat Belt Enforcement: Law enforcement officials would be allowed to stop motorists who are not wearing seat belts.
Drunken Driving: First-time offenders who apply for hardship licenses would be required to use an ignition interlock device for a minimum of six months. It also clarifies the Registry of Motor Vehicles’ ability to penalize those who attempt to drive after drinking alcohol, even with a device, and those who tamper with the interlock device.
AAA also supports all of the governor’s other road safety proposals, which include the following.
Work Zone Safety: MassDOT would be allowed to establish mandatory lower speed limits in construction zones that would double fines when workers are present. Currently, lower speed limits in construction zones are only suggestions and law enforcement cannot enforce them.
Side Guards and Additional Mirrors: The proposal would require all commonwealth-owned and operated vehicles over 10,000 pounds to have side guards, convex mirrors and cross-over mirrors after Jan. 1, 2020. Contractors for the state and municipalities would be required to have these devices by Jan. 1, 2022. Some exemptions would be allowed.
New Technology: Electric scooters and other low-speed mobility devices, such as electric bicycles, currently lack a specific vehicle classification. The proposal treats these new technology items the same as bicycles, according to existing Massachusetts General Law.
Read the full news release here.
Read the full bill and check its progress here.
Find out more. AAA.com/MassRoads