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No Distracted Driving Tickets in Worcester for First Week of April

By Tom Marino | March 18, 2024
Last Updated: March 18, 2024

WORCESTER – State and local officials announced on Monday, March 18, a suspension of ticketing for distracted driving for the first week of April in the City of Worcester. Drivers stopped for distracted driving during that week will instead receive a warning and education materials on the danger of distracted driving as part of the “Eyes Up, Phones Down” campaign.

The city previously ran a month-long suspension of ticketing for distracted driving in 2021. The theme of this week-long moratorium is to encourage drivers to use the “do not disturb” feature on their phone while driving.

“Taking this simple step, then keeping your eyes off your phone while you’re behind the wheel, will help make us all safer,” said Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr. “The hardest part of my job is talking to people in pain, and there’s so much pain when a family loses a loved one in a senseless car crash.”

The Massachusetts Hands-Free Law, which went into effect on Monday, Feb. 23, 2020, makes it illegal to use an electronic device while driving unless the device is in hands-free mode. Between February 2020 and June 2021, there were 53,638 citations for distracted driving. Of those citations, 40,181 were warnings.

The first offense is a $100 fine. The second offense is a $250 fine and mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program. Third and subsequent offenses come with a $500 fine, insurance surcharge, and mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program.

“Texting and driving is dangerous and can have deadly consequences. The Worcester Police Department is proud to be part of the Eyes Up, Phones Down initiative to encourage drivers to follow the law and prevent distracted driving,” said Interim Worcester Police Chief Paul Saucier. “Our department is pausing ticketing for distracted driving for a short time. Instead, motorists will be reminded of the state’s hands-free law.”

The announcement was made at the Worcester Police Department. Along with Early and Saucier was City Manager Eric D. Batista, Registrar of Motor Vehicles Colleen Ogilvie, MassDOT State Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, Christina Hayman, Senior Manager of Government Affairs at AAA Northeast, President of the Safe Roads Alliance Emily Stein, and Co-Founder of WalkBike Worcester Karin Valentine Goins.

See the announcement of the program at the Worcester Police Department, below:

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