Texting while driving isn’t just a dangerous habit. It’s also illegal for passenger vehicle drivers in Massachusetts and all commercial vehicle operators in any state across the country. For nearly a decade, Massachusetts has had a law in place prohibiting the sending, reading or typing of messages through handheld devices.

Emails, social media posts and text messages are all part of this ban. Young adults who have only recently received their licenses have a total ban on any use of hand-held mobile devices, even if they just want to make a call. Sadly, while these laws have been around for some time, Massachusetts drivers are not keen on following them.

Every day across the state, dozens of people wind up in crashes caused by distracted drivers who just can’t seem to put down their phones. Some of those individuals will have to worry about expensive property damage to their vehicles, while a smaller percentage will have more serious consequences, which will include major injuries or even a fatality because of a driver who didn’t pay attention.

Distracted drivers break the law and needlessly endanger others

Getting behind the wheel while distracted isn’t just a way for someone to wind up paying an expensive ticket. The reason lawmakers banned texting and driving in the first place is because of the risk such activities pose to public safety.

There is simply no digital message more important than arriving at your destination safely and ensuring everyone else can do the same. Drivers who expect an important message should pull over to the side of the road and park their vehicle until they have read and responded to the message.

No matter how good people think they may be at multitasking, reading or composing a text message while at the wheel will still decrease their driving skills. By breaking the law and behaving in a negligent manner, these individuals open themselves up to civil liability if their actions result in injury, death or property damage for someone else.

Digital distraction leaves a trail of evidence

Unlike an argument with another passenger in the vehicle, which could be a form of distraction very difficult to prove in court, digital distraction typically leaves evidence behind. In other words, law enforcement officers can conduct a search to determine if mobile devices played a role in the crash.

While drivers can and often do attempt to cover their tracks by removing apps from their phone, or deleting specific text messages or social media posts before emergency responders arrive at the scene of a crash, they are not in the clear. The internal memory for their device and the digital records from their service provider can conclusively show if someone broke the law and chose to use their cellphone while driving, thereby causing an accident with financial consequences for others.