State Police hone ways to catch drivers texting behind the wheel3 years after distracted driving ban, police start to get hang of enforcement
By Martine Powers | GLOBE STAFF SEPTEMBER 27, 2013
State Police have launched an aggressive new attempt to ticket drivers who text, the second wave of an experiment seeking the most effective way to detect illicit behind-the-wheel cellphone activity.
Some troopers stay in unmarked cars on the side of the road to catch texting drivers. Others slowly cruise the middle lane to watch as people pull out their phones. Still other troopers may try standing in plain clothes at intersections, watching people text, then radioing ahead to other officers who pull the driver over.
The troopers are hoping to deter distracted driving by ticketing as many people as possible. During the first wave of the enforcement effort, conducted during a three-week period in June, police cited440 drivers in the Merrimack Valley for sending electronic messages while driving, and another 509 drivers for the vaguer offense of "impeded operation."
Collectively, it amounted to almost four times as many citations as were handed out in the entire state in June 2012. The current wave of enforcement, also in Merrimack Valley towns, runs into mid-October.