If you received a traffic violation in Massachusetts in 2023, you were far from being alone.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles Merit Rating Board says 1.08 million citations were issued to motorists in Massachusetts in 2023, an increase of nearly 40 percent from 2020 when fewer than 776,000 violations were issued.

That's a huge increase, but why?

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The MRB says more than 6 in 10 violations were warnings. There were about 683,000 warnings issued in 2023, up from 429,000 in 2020, for a 60 percent increase in warnings.

The State House News Service (SHNS) reports, "Civil violations increased about 14 percent over the same span, while criminal violations grew about 12 percent in that period."

There are a couple of theories as to why there were so many more motor vehicle violations in 2023 than in 2020. SHNS says one school of thought is that there was considerably more traffic on the road in 2023 than in 2020 since 2020 was the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, which kept many folks at home and off of the state's roadways.

Massachusetts Drivers Hit With 54,000 Citations For This In 2023
Photo courtesy of Steve Debenport/ Getty Images

SHNS also considers the distracted driving law that took effect in 2020 in Massachusetts that required motorists to use hands-free technology.

According to the MRB's report, police issued some 29,600 citations for violating the new law in 2020, but that number increased as more people returned to the roads as the pandemic wound down.

More than 44,000 citations were issued in 2021 for violations of the distracted driving law, 51,000 in 2022, and nearly 54,000 in 2023.

"About 40,000, or roughly 75 percent, of the distracted driving citations in 2023 consisted of warnings," SHNS reports.

You have options if you get a traffic ticket in Massachusetts, but you could face consequences if you ignore it.

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