Published in the April 14, 2016 edition

NORTH READING FIREFIGHTERS work to extricate the occupant of one of the vehicles involved in last week's crash on Lowell Rd. (Courtesy Photo)

NORTH READING FIREFIGHTERS work to extricate the occupant of one of the vehicles involved in last week’s crash on Lowell Rd. (Courtesy Photo)

NORTH READING — Police Chief Michael P.  Murphy reports that the North Reading Police Department filed charges against a woman for texting while driving after she crashed into another vehicle on last Wednesday. The occupants of both vehicles sustained non–life threatening injuries.

A 33–year–old Lawrence woman was summonsed to Woburn District Court for violations of Marked Lanes and Operating to Endanger. She was also cited for Sending or Reading Text Messages while Operating a Motor Vehicle.

On Wednesday, April 6, around 4:40 p.m. police responded to the intersection of Lowell Road and North Street (Route 62) on a report of a head–on collision.

Upon an officer’s arrival, he noticed heavy front end damage to two vehicles. The Lawrence woman, who was traveling in the eastbound lane in a Toyota Camry, crossed over the double yellow line and crashed into a Jeep on the westbound side. Police believe the crash occurred due to texting and driving.

A witness who was behind the Toyota Camry recorded the incident after noticing the woman’s reckless driving prior to the crash. Chief Murphy states that while the video account of the crash provides the public with a firsthand look at how much destruction distracted driving can cause, the department urges all drivers to remain off their phones while behind the wheel. Police have spoken to and educated the witness who will not be cited.

“Thankfully, no one was seriously injured in this crash,” Chief Murphy said. “We remind motorists to stay off their electronic devices while driving, even if you’re sitting in traffic, at a stop light or programming your GPS. The video of the crash shows just what a second of distracted driving can cause. It’s just not worth it.”

The North Reading Police Department is one of more than 200 police departments in the Commonwealth set to partake in the Distracted Driving Enforcement Campaign this month through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division.

Now through April 29, North Reading Police will increase patrols in town to reduce the number of crashes, fatalities and injuries caused by distracted driving.

State law prohibits drivers from writing, sending or reading electronic messages, using apps and browsing the Internet while driving, stopped at a light or in traffic. Operators under 18 are banned entirely from being on mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving. Those who are cited can pay up to a $500 fine and teenagers can also lose their license for up to a year.

The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security Highway Safety Division recommends that motorists:

• Turn your phone off and put it where you can’t reach it before driving.

• Let your friends and family know that you’ll be driving and can’t take their call/text.

• Pull over to a safe place if you have to make a call or send a text.

• Start GPS navigation or review maps before you start driving.

• Remember to buckle up! Seat belts are your best defense against a distracted driver.