WEST BRIDGEWATER (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – Over the weekend, police officers in West Bridgewater conducted a texting while driving sting in the town and stopped nearly 51 drivers for not only texting, but also for being on Facebook.
West Bridgewater Lieutenant Victor Flaherty told FOX 25 that he and his fellow officers were shocked by the amount of people they pulled over for texting while driving. Some of the offenders were too busy texting that they didn't even notice the two police officers and blew right by them.
One female driver even had the gall to tell police that she wasn't texting while driving, she was on Facebook.
In all, police made 51 stops for texting. There were close to 65 offenders, but police could not stop every single vehicle because there were so many.
According to data provided by the police department, 20 percent of those stopped were female drivers between the ages of 26 and 40. Sixteen percent of those stopped were female drivers between the ages of 16 and 25, while men were split evenly between the age group of 16 to 20 and 26 to 40.
The sting was conducted on Saturday between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Seven officers were assigned to target drivers texting while operating a motor vehicle, and three officers were in unmarked vehicles watching and confirming that the drivers were texting. Uniformed officer then pulled over the drivers.
Lt. Flaherty told FOX 25 that he has two kids of his own and has done research of his own regarding driving reaction times. He believes the state needs to implement a hands free policy.
According to state law, operators cannot use an electronic device or mobile phone to manually compose, send or read an electronic message while operating a vehicle. This includes reading or sending emails, instant messaging, text messages, or accessing the Internet.
Reporting an emergency is the only exception, and even in that case drivers are urged to pull over to make the call.
Lt. Flaherty has instructed the West Bridgewater Police Department to have zero tolerance for operators who text while driving.
For more information on the Safe Driving Law, head to Mass DOT – Safe Driving Law.