With Roadway Fatalities High, Gov. Baker Looks To Increase Safety
Last year, despite a major decrease in traffic, Massachusetts saw 334 roadway deaths. According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation(MassDOT), many of those deaths were the cause of excessive speed or erratic driving.
On Monday, Governor Charlie Baker filed a bill to improve safety on our roadways across the state, according to Mass.Gov. With COVID numbers on the wane, more and more people will be out in their vehicles and Governor Baker thinks it's time to improve road safety.
Monday's bill filed by Baker attempts to address that by fining drivers for not wearing their seatbelts, increasing the number of police officers patrolling the roads, and adding red-light cameras.
Governor Baker said as part of a statement Monday:
The bill addresses all forms of travel, motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Most importantly, it will keep Massachusetts safe and ensure that fewer travelers are killed.
The bill, entitled, “An Act Relative to Improving Safety on the Roads of the Commonwealth", would also expand several of the driving laws that are currently in place including the hands-free law, and Haley’s Law which imposes harsh penalties for residents that drive with a suspended license.
The bill would also include proposals on new and previously filed topics. Just some of what's covered:
- Traffic Camera Enforcement Local Option: allows localities to place red light cameras at intersections
- Bicycle Safe Passing: requires a driver to maintain a 3 foot "safe passing distance" and to travel at a speed that is proper when passing a bicyclist or pedestrian when there isn't any physical separation
- Side Guards and Additional Mirrors: required all Commonwealth-owned and operated vehicles over 10,000 pounds to have side guards, convex mirrors, and cross-over mirrors
There is much more to the story. Check it out at mass.gov's website here. Gov. Baker’s bill will need to be approved by the legislature before it can take effect.
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