Baker Files Legislation to Improve Safety on Massachusetts Roadways
Governor Charlie Baker has announced a new effort to decrease the number of vehicle accidents by improving safety on Massachusetts roadways. According to a media release from the Baker-Polito Administration, legislation has been filed to improve road safety, entitled, “An Act Relative to Improving Safety on the Roads of the Commonwealth.” The legislation includes provisions previously filed by the Administration in 2019 and several new proposals, including increasing penalties for individuals who cause personal injury while driving on a non-administratively suspended license.
These proposals will make Massachusetts roadways and streets safer for all travelers and will help reduce roadway fatalities across the state...This legislative package builds upon laws enacted in 2019 to prevent and enforce distracted driving, and we look forward to working with our partners in the Legislature to take additional steps to improve road safety. ~ Governor Charlie Baker
Lt. Governor Karyn Polito says the legislation addresses all travelers...
This legislation will make a difference for all travelers in the Commonwealth including including pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers...We are grateful for the input from municipal leaders, advocacy groups and non-profit organizations, which allow us to take steps that will save lives and prevent injuries in communities throughout the Commonwealth. ~ Lt. Governor Karyn Polito
An Act Relative to Improving Safety on the Roads of the Commonwealth, includes proposals on the following new and previously filed topics:
- Primary Seatbelt: allows law enforcement to stop motorists for not wearing a seatbelt.
- Haley’s Law: increases penalties for individuals who cause personal injury while driving on a non-administratively suspended license.
- 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 reasonable and proper when passing a bicyclist or pedestrian when there isn’t any physical separation.
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Changes: a refile of previously filed changes to the state’s CDL laws, which include updates to conform to federal law.
- Crash Data Reporting: proposes adding to reporting requirements crash information involving “a vulnerable user,” a term which would include pedestrians, bicyclists, public works or public safety personnel working in the right of way, individuals on farm tractors, and users of other mobility devices such as scooters and in-line skates.
- Side Guards and Additional Mirrors: requires all Commonwealth-owned and operated vehicles over 10,000 pounds to have side guards, convex mirrors and cross-over mirrors.
- Low-Speed Mobility Device Advisory Working Group: given the growth in use and acceptance of micro-mobility solutions like electric scooters and bicycles, and their unclear status in state law and local regulation.
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