Massachusetts State Representative Peter J. Koutoujian has publicly stated that texting while driving has taken on the form of OUI. Perhaps this is why there now stand over a dozen bills in the Massachusetts legislature limiting the use of cell phones while driving. State Senator Steven Baddour, the Senate chairman of the Transportation Committee stated that members of his committee have agreed that text messaging while driving should be banned in Massachusetts. Many of these bills have come at the heels of recent incidents involving accidents and even death. Take for example the story of Amanda Martin, a seventeen year old high school student who was killed in the fall of 2007 when her car went off the road as she was driving to school. Police believed that text messaging might have been the cause of that accident. Consider also the case of Aiden Quinn, the MBTA driver who was texting his girlfriend, missed a light and ended up hitting another trolley in the Government Center Station.
OUI in Massachusetts mandates certain penalties that punish people for taking the risk of operating a motor vehicle while impaired. What would the punishment be for improper use of a cell phone while driving? Would a license suspension be in order? Possible jail time? An immediate loss of use and taking of the cell phone? Would the penalties be enhanced if someone were hurt or killed as the result of cell phone use while driving? Finally, how would law enforcement prove this crime? Accidents take a split second and the accuracy of cell phone records and logs is an issue that can easily be contested. It might be even more difficult to prove this crime in cases where there is no accident since most people would agree that in most cases no one outside of a vehicle can say for certain whether or not someone was texting.
Attorney Stephen Neyman is a Massachusetts Criminal Defense lawyer with over twenty years experience defending OUI cases in Massachusetts. If you have been charged with a crime call us at 617-263-6800 or contact us online.