Massachusetts bills intended to make roads safer

| 10/8/2007

Safety on roadways in Massachusetts is the subject of multiple bills in the statehouse.

One bill is intended to help curb road rage. Sponsored by Rep. Harold Naughton Jr., D-Clinton, the bill – H3585 – would get tough with drivers who endanger others on the road by driving in an aggressive, malicious or reckless manner.

As defined in the bill, actions that could get drivers into a lot of trouble include speeding, following too closely, failing to give way to a passing vehicle, making an obscene gesture, and honking the horn.

Police officers who witness such actions could arrest the culprits. Those found guilty would face fines between $200 and $1,000, and/or up to two and one-half years in prison.

Offenders also would lose their personal driver’s licenses for between one and five years. Commercial driver’s license holders would lose their driving privileges for between two and five years.

A separate bill – H3547 – is intended to make construction work zones a little safer. Sponsored by Rep. Stephen Kulik, D-South Deerfield, it calls for doubled fines and/or penalties for driving violations in work zones.

One other safety-related bill is intended to get the attention of pet owners who take their fury companions along for the ride. Sponsored by Rep. Robert Fennell, D-Lynn, the measure – H3477 – calls for securing pets inside motor vehicles with a harness, pet carrier or cage.

Violators would face fines up to $50. Repeat offenders would be on the hook for as much as $200.

The bills are in committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Massachusetts in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor