There’s one distracted driving incident per minute in front of Massachusetts’ State House. Every day last week, from 8:30 to 9:30 AM, we sat in front of the State House on the corner of Beacon and Park counting distracted drivers. This included anyone who was using their phone texting (illegal), dialing (legal), and making handheld phone calls (legal). We counted over 300 distracted driving incidents in just 5 hours – one per minute.
These distracted driving incidents happen while MA representatives debate allowing a vote on a bill that would make distracted driving illegal. It’s literally happening in front of their eyes. 96% of people think distracted driving is as dangerous as driving drunk. What would happen if there were one drunk driver per minute in front of the State House?
Beyond the numbers, the individual stories of distracted driving in front of the State House are shocking. A commercial bus driver took a photo with her phone (legal) of the State House while driving a bus full of passengers. A woman was texting (illegal) behind a state trooper. We saw many truck drivers texting and driving (illegal). We even saw one man typing on his laptop on his car’s dashboard (legal?). Business people were the most frequent offenders (so are frequent fliers).
There were also some close calls. While we were counting distracted drivers, four small children ran into the street. Their father frantically raced to pull them to safety. Near the Civil War Memorial, a little girl slipped away from her family and wandered into the street for a moment before they grabbed her. These kids were lucky. It only takes a second.
We counted distracted driving in front of the State House to show that no one is immune. It happens on lazy country roads. It happens on busy city streets. It happens in front of the State House. The difference is that the people in the State House have the power to change the world – at least in MA – today. They don’t have much time – their session ends July 31. And then it’s back to the drawing board.
Until they do, people will continue driving distracted on Beacon St. in front of the State House – one per minute.
If you want to make roads safer in MA, check out our guide on how to help hands-free Massachusetts.