Keller @ Large: Bad Massachusetts Driving Getting Worse

BOSTON (CBS) – I attended a wedding this weekend that required me to drive halfway across the state and back, and it was the usual summer weekend traffic nightmare. At one point, I had to detour around Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, which is no joke.

And it gave me ample opportunity to observe the full panoply of really bad Massachusetts driving. Speeding, tailgating, gratuitous lane-changing, driving with phone in hand, you know the litany.

I can’t prove that it’s getting worse, but it sure feels like it is, and there may be some evidence to back that up. The Boston Globe reports that traffic violations are down 35-percent over most of this decade, a decline officials say is driven by cuts in the federal grants that help pay for road patrols, fewer cops being sent on traffic patrol, and a reluctance to write tickets as a result of public backlash.

Could the erosion of consequences for reckless, selfish driving have anything to do with a recent spike in traffic deaths? The experts say no, but you wonder.

Meanwhile, there has been an effort to ticket distracted drivers since the no-texting law came in awhile back, but you tell me if you’re seeing more or fewer people glued to their phones and all over the road.

What’s the moral of the story?

There’s only so much the law and the cops can do.

Until Massachusetts drivers create a culture of low-tolerance for bad drivers – and promote it through social pressure, the same way cigarette smokers became marginalized – the roads will remain a white-knuckle experience.

Oh well. At least the wedding was really nice.

More from Jon Keller
Comments

One Comment

  1. Bob Babineau says:

    Another Jon on vacation recycled piece of trash

  2. Most are familiar with accidents/crashes that occur with teens and their driving. However, there is also an issue with company/fleet vehicles. These vehicles spend more time on the road than personal vehicles. Because the driver is on the clock and working, they will try to “multi-task” and do work other than driving when they are behind the wheel. Emails, phone calls, using apps and texting are often part of a drivers’ workload.

    While many states and legislators are seeking to lower distracted driving by increasing penalties, fees and regulations, there is another option. AT&T “It Can Wait” campaign is an advocacy effort to diminish distracted driving. They have an anti-texting app to be downloaded onto your smartphones. The app is called AT&T DriveMode. They make it available to all drivers for FREE!

    One area that is rarely discussed is that Massachusetts has hundreds of State vehicles that inspectors, regulators and the agricultural department use as fleet vehicles, but they do not have the technology to diminish distracted driving. I would love to see Massachusetts lead by example and use a program, like FleetMode, to block texts, redirect incoming phone calls, and impede all other apps in the State vehicles. If we want our state roads to be safer, let’s start by making our state vehicles safer.

  3. Wonder how many plates where from RI ?

  4. Joseph Wrinn says:

    What is it about driving? We killed over 40,000 people on American highways last year and there is no public outcry. Can you imagine what would happen if any other single cause of 40,000 deaths occurred? Of course the reason for our lack of response is that we are collectively the cause. The three leading causes of highway deaths are belts, booze, and speed. All of these are under our individual control. We can choose to wear our seat belts. We can choose to not drive impaired. We can choose to obey the speed limits. But we don’t. I wish there was more of a public outcry about these horrible, unnecessary deaths. But that would require an uncomfortable focus on our own behavior, and human beings resist doing that.

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