hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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April 17, 2014

The week's news in review

Police crack down on distracted drivers

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month — it sounds like one of those ceremonial months that has more name than substance.

But Haverhill police said they are taking it seriously.

They said they are on the lookout for drivers who aren’t paying attention and will issue citations to those who they catch texting or doing something other than watching what’s in front of them.

Distractions include: Texting, using a cell phone, eating and drinking, grooming, reading, using a navigation system, watching a video, and adjusting a radio, CD or other audio players.

Police Capt. Alan Ratte said all patrol officers will be keeping a special eye out for these infractions.

“Erratic operation is usually the best indicator of distracted driving as well as observation at intersections or other areas where the operator’s actions can be observed,” he said.

— Mike LaBella

Businesses caught selling beer to minors escape hearings

Six of seven package stores and restaurants caught selling beer to a minor in a police sting last month got off with warnings and lectures at last night’s License Commission meeting.

A seventh business — Town’s Variety and Liquor at 277 Groveland St. — must also hire a private company to train employees how to make sure they don’t sell liquor to a minor again. The store was caught selling to a minor in the initial police sting March 3 and then again on March 12.

The manager of the store, Harshard Patel, said he is a new license holder and that he has recently taken steps to make sure his workers check identification before selling alcohol to anyone.

“We will be checking all IDs from now on,” Patel said. “I put up signs everywhere in my store that we check IDs, and I told all my employees not to sell to anyone without identification. I promise you it won’t happen again.”

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