Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New cell phone law goes into effect tomorrow

The following is a summary of the new law regarding cell phone use while driving, which will go into effect tomorrow. Thanks to Chase & Lunt Insurance for the info.

Sending or Reading Electronic Messages
Operators cannot use any mobile electronic device to write, send, or read an electronic message (including text messages, emails, instant messages, or accessing the Internet) while operating a vehicle. This law applies to drivers of all ages.

Violation Penalties (for all ages):

  • 1st offense - $100 fine
  • 2nd offense - $250 fine
  • 3rd or subsequent offense - $500 fine

Mobile Phone Usage by Operators Under 18
Operators under the age of 18 cannot use any mobile electronic device for any reason while operating a motor vehicle. The only exception is for reporting an emergency.

Violation Penalties:

  • 1st offense - $100 fine, 60-day license suspension, and a required attitudinal retraining course
  • 2nd offense - $250 fine, 180-day license suspension
  • 3rd or subsequent offense - $500 fine, one-year suspension

Unsafe or Impeded Operation Due to the Use of a Mobile Phone
Operators over the age of 18 can use mobile telephones for calls as long as one hand remains on the steering wheel at all times. However, the use of a mobile telephone must not interfere with driving and can’t be used for texting.

Violation Penalties (for all ages):

  • 1st offense - $35 fine
  • 2nd offense (within 12 months) - $75 fine
  • 3rd offense (within 12 months) - $150 fine

NOTE: It is not a violation if the vehicle is parked in an area of the road not meant for driving.

Negligent Operation and Injury from Mobile Phone Use

Personal injury or property damage caused by negligent operation of a motor vehicle is a criminal offense. If you crashed because you were using a mobile electronic device, you will face criminal charges. In addition to the criminal charges, you will face loss of license as described below.

Violation Penalties:
Junior Operators (under 18 years of age)

  • 1st offense – 180-day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent offense (within three years) – One-year suspension

18 Years or Older

  • 1st offense – 60-day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent offense (within three years) – One-year suspension

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Schools seek tech help

Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Marc Kerble, is seeking Newburyport community members who have a range of technology expertise to serve on a Technology Ad Hoc Committee, along with representation from the School Committee, school teaching staff and administration. The Committee’s charge will be to gather evidence about the Newburyport Schools’ state of technology programs that enhance instruction and also an inventory of hardware and the infrastructure to run various programs and platforms. The Committee will provide the Superintendent with information, and recommendations for his entry report to the School Committee and the community at large. The Ad Hoc Committee will consist of 12-13 people. Committee members should be available to complete work outside of team meetings. The schedule for the four Ad Hoc Committee meetings is as follows:

Thursdays, October 7, October 21, November 4, and November 18 from 4:15-5:45 PM

If you wish to be considered to serve on this committee, please contact the Superintendent by September 29, at:

The scoop on the accident

So ... I'm driving along this street in Malden, on the way to my sister's house ... Glenwood St., to be exact. A straight shot with only 2 stops, at its beginning and at its end.

I noticed this green SUV stopped at a stop sign on a side street, on the right. He was stopped, but then he decided to GO.

So I hit him.

After impact, I noticed that he was yelling at me (which seemed strange to me, given the circumstances).

We pulled off Glenwood, and he jumped out of his SUV and screamed, "You hit me!"

I replied that yes, I had hit him, but only because he had pulled out in front of me.

He informed me - in angry tones - that he had stopped, looked both ways, and had not seen me coming. He claimed that I had "materialized" out of nowhere. He kept saying that.

(My dad said I should have replied, "Yes, I do that.")

Well, Mr. Y, who was in my car, had to intervene, but the guy (a postal worker all dressed up in his postal duds) did not want to discuss things with Mr. Y, who kept insisting that it was HIM (the other driver) who had the obligation to stop, not I, and that claiming he had not seen me (and therefore it was my fault) was not a valid argument.

Then the guy who had been driving behind me showed up at my window and backed up everything - and the other driver started arguing with HIM about how he had not seen me, I'd materialized, etc.

I have to remember to tell Scottie not to beam me down again when there's the possibility that someone will pull out in front of me because they didn't see me.

I only got some scrapes on my front right fender, which match the scrapes on my left front fender from where someone side swiped my car while it was parked in front of the house.

And thus, my semi-crappy year continues. I have to say "semi" because, so far, I have not been injured or killed. Just my kitty was injured/died or killed.

Welcome (me) to the South End

Blogger really should have subtitles, so I could have added, "A canoe or kayak on every vehicle."

Not only has my car been hit twice since I moved so it looks even junkier than it did before, it also really stands out because it does not have a boat perched on the top of it.

What's the deal with this? It's too much trouble to take the boat/canoe down, so people drive around with it still affixed to the car/SUV?

I lived out on the island for 6 yrs. and I never saw so many small craft as I do zipping down the streets of the South End.

The second hit on my car is worth of a separate post because it was so funny, in retrospect. Maybe in another few weeks ...