A series of serious and fatal crashes on Route 24 and I-195 have prompted state troopers to boost their patrol efforts on both highways, hoping to nab speeders, drunk drivers and careless motorists.
Massachusetts DUI lawyers know that more patrols are likely to equal more arrests. It’s important to understand the background of why law enforcement is targeting this area, as well as what you should do if you’re stopped.
A recent two-part series by The Enterprise newspaper detailed what has been a treacherous year, particularly on Route 24. Drivers spoke of how they drive defensively because they felt it often a matter of life or death on that stretch of highway.
In fact, the newspaper staff, after combing through four years worth of crash data, determined that it’s one of the most dangerous roads in the state. In the last year, there have been 630 crashes on Route 24, resulting in 11 deaths and many more injuries. That averages out to about two crashes a day.
Law enforcement say the reasons behind these crashes vary, but mostly put blame on certain dangerous driving habits, including speeding, impaired driving and wrong-way driving.
Certainly, reckless drivers are out there. However, Massachusetts DUI attorneys know that a lot of it also has to do with poor road design. Even the newspaper reported that when the road first opened back in 1952 as the Fall River Expressway, there were approximately 30 exits over a span of just 43 miles. Most of those ramps are abrupt, allowing motorists just a few car lengths to either speed up and merge or slow down and avoid a collision. Sure, some people go too fast, but poor road design can be a factor in a crash – and in some cases, a possible defense. Drivers could be doing everything right, but accidents will still happen.
Some motorists interviewed by the paper indicated that scofflaws were to blame, as was the lack of police enforcement. So now, law enforcement is answering that claim by tripling their patrols on both Rt. 24 and I-195, particularly on weekend nights through September. When increased enforcement is announced, it also means there is an increased probability of being stopped. When law enforcement is predisposed the make traffic stops and take enforcement action, motorists are also at increased risk of questionable or unfair arrest.
Of course, the best way to avoid a DUI is not to drink before you get behind the wheel. The legal limit in Massachusetts for blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent, but the problem is, many people have a hard time telling once they’ve reached that limit.
Because the chances of your getting pulled over and arrested on Rt. 24 and I-195 are increased, here are some things to keep in mind if you get stopped:
1. Reduce your chances of being pulled over by keeping your vehicle in good working condition. This means making sure your rear and headlights are working, you don’t have illegal window tint and your vehicle is generally well-maintained. Also, make sure that your license plate is properly renewed and your license, registration and insurance is current.
2. Remain calm and be polite. Almost everyone is nervous when getting pulled over, but try to maintain your composure. Remember too that being rude will probably get you nowhere.
3. Don’t be combative, but know that you have the right to decline to take a field sobriety test, take a breath test and to tell the officer whether you’ve been drinking. Understand that under the Massachusetts implied consent law, if you refuse a breath test, you will likely be arrested and lose your license for at least 180 days. This statute is found under Massachusetts General Laws 90-24(f). On the flip side, there will be less evidence to prosecute you for a DUI or OUI.
4. If you are arrested, do not make any statement to police or investigators without an experienced DUI attorney present. Contact an attorney as soon as possible.