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OMG! It's against the law now

New cell phone rules begin today

While police officials such as Southbridge Chief Daniel Charette grapple with how to enforce it, motorists must now comply with tighter regulation of cell phone use behind the wheel. (click for larger version)
September 30, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE —†With the new safe driving law taking effect today, local police chiefs are airing concerns over its enforcement.

"How do you actually prove this?" said Police Chief Daniel Charette of the new, heavier restrictions on cell phone use while driving.

Under the law, motorists who send text messages while driving face a $100 fine for the first offense, and junior operators are banned from using any type of cell phone in any way, with or without a hands-free device. They are also subject to a $100 fine and a 60-day license suspension. The violations would not be considered moving violations, and would be exempt from an insurance surcharge.

Despite the good intent off the new regulations, Charette said the law could prove tough to enforce. While officers can stop people they suspect are texting, proving it could pose problems, Charette said.

"If somebody actually fights this are we going to be able to get the records that say they were texting at that point?" he said.

Enforcing the statute may be even tougher, in other circumstances, according to Charlton Police James Pervier. It may be difficult for police to spot violators in inclement weather, or determine whether a motorist is telling the truth when they claim they were not texting.

"You're going to have to have a good vantage point," he said. "There are alot things that are going to give a challenge to this law."

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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