Mass. Gov threatens snowstorm drivers with year in jail

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, January 8, 2013

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is leaving no stone unturned when it comes to making sure that Bay State residents remain safe during Winter Storm Nemo. But is his latest protective measure going a bit too far?

The governor announced in a press conference this morning that he signed an executive order banning non-essential personnel from driving on any road in the state after 4:00pm today, which makes sense considering up to three feet of snow is expected in parts of the state.

What doesn’t necessarily make sense is the specific terms of the punishment. Those caught driving after 4:00pm are subject to a $500 fine AND the possibility of spending as much as one year in jail.

He followed up the announcement with the following tweet:

Signed an Executive Order banning vehicles on the road effective at 4pm today. 

-Deval Patrick (@MassGovernor)

Today’s statewide shutdown is the first time that the roads have been shutdown in Massachusetts in 35 years, despite the fact that Boston alone receives an average of 42 inches of snow annually.

Winter Storm Nemo is expected to be one of the worst storms in decades, even worse than 2011′s ‘Snowmageddon.’ More than 4,000 flights have already been cancelled, including thousands at major hubs such as JFK and Boston Logan Airport, and many mass transit systems, including the T in Boston, will shut down later this afternoon. Several states, including Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York, have already declared a State of Emergency in advance of the storm.

But a year in jail? Granted, it’s not the smartest idea to drive in the dark when there’s several feet of snow on the ground, and if non-essential drivers are on the road snowplows and emergency personnel can’t do their jobs and save lives. I guess we can only hope that the threat of 365 days in jail is enough to keep people indoors this weekend.

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