I was driving through the Boston Metro area on Route 128 the other night when a young woman in a Toyota something-or-other signaled to enter the center lane. The only problem was I was already occupying that lane.

I could tell by the glare of the cell phone she clutched in her hand at steering wheel level that she wasn't completely in tune with what was going on around her. Fortunately, she noticed me in time and stayed put in her lane.

That is called distracted driving, and I'm sure most of you have had an encounter or two with it.

Photo courtesy of Steve Debenport/ Getty Images
Steve Debenport/Getty Images

Years ago, I commuted to my job in Providence during the morning rush and would routinely see people eating, reading books, putting on makeup, and even dressing while maneuvering through heavy traffic – just more examples of distracted driving.

Finally, something is being done about distracted driving. It's dangerous, and distracted drivers should be dealt with accordingly.

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According to the Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles Colleen Ogilvie, there were 38,233 distracted driving citations issued from January through August this year. State House News Service reported that 7,615 were for finable offenses. The fines netted the Commonwealth some $829,000.

MA State Police cruiser
Massachusetts State Police

"Massachusetts recorded more than 85 percent as many distracted driving citations in the two-thrids of 2022 as it did in all of 2021," the SHNS reported. The RMV reported issuing 44,336 citations for distracted driving in all of 2021.

The Massachusetts law targeting distracted drivers was adopted in 2019. It took effect in 2020, with fines starting in April 2020.

The law prohibits motorists from using a phone or other handheld electronic device while driving, except for a single touch or tap to activate the hands-free mode.

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