As the statewide ban on texting while driving goes into effect Thursday, many officers of the law are calling it another “unenforceable law” on the books. Police will need to determine if drivers are illegally responding to their BlackBerry’s blipping red light, or just legally dialing.
“It’s difficult for an officer to know what a person is doing in the car,” said Chief Wayne Sampson of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association. “There’s going to be a real problem with enforcement here.”
Boston attorney Ben Urbelis said it will be difficult for the state to prove someone was really texting, because subpoenaed cell records will probably only come into play in cases involving fatalities.
“If a person cited for texting while driving appeals the ticket and argues that he or she was actually just picking up the phone or dialing a number,” Urbelis said, “the police probably won’t have any real evidence to say otherwise.” There are, however, several signs that a driver may be texting and driving, such as driving slowly and braking erratically.
“There are some cases that will appear more clear cut than others, as with any traffic violation law,” Registrar Rachel Kaprielian admitted. “This is not different than 100 other moving violation laws.”