WAYLAND — Acting Police Chief Ed Burman and Fire Chief Neil McPherson urge motorists to slow down, pay attention, and obey traffic laws in the wake of several recent motor vehicle crashes believed to be caused by distracted driving.
In response to the recent increase in crashes and to help ensure safe roadways for all drivers, the Wayland Police Department will be increasing its motor vehicle and traffic violation enforcement throughout town to reduce the risk of crashes and injury.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2020 alone there were over 3,142 deaths as a result of distracted driving. The NHTSA reports that the average text takes your eyes off the road for five seconds. While traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.
Additionally, the Wayland Police and Fire Departments wish to share the following recommendations provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to prevent tragedies due to distracted driving:
- Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.
- Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example. Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
- Speak up when a driver uses an electronic device behind the wheel. Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the road.
- Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are your best defense against unsafe drivers.
- Be alert for pedestrians and cyclists, especially those who may themselves be distracted.
“The safety of our residents is our top priority, and we want to shed light on the dangers of distracted driving following these recent crashes in hopes of preventing future injuries,” Chief McPherson said. “We encourage residents to take these tips into consideration the next time they get behind the wheel to help ensure safety on our roadways.”
Residents also are reminded that Massachusetts law prohibits drivers from using their phone while driving, including writing, sending or reading electronic messages, using apps or browsing the internet while driving, even if stopped at a light or in traffic. Operators are permitted to use hands-free technology including Bluetooth, “single tap or swipe” to activate or deactivate hands-free mode, navigation technology mounted to the car’s dash and phone use in emergency situations. Drivers may use their phones if they are stationary and not in an active traffic lane. Drivers under 18 are prohibited entirely from using mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving.
“Distracted driving not only puts you at risk, but also your passengers, other motorists bikers and pedestrians,” Acting Chief Burman said. “We urge you to keep your eyes on the road, stay vigilant and avoid using your phone. We all are used to having access to our phones 24/7, but in non-emergency situations, answering a text or a phone call can wait until you are parked in a safe location.”
For more distracted driving safety information please visit the National High Traffic Safety Administration’s website here.