POLL: Did You Agree With Post-Storm Driving Ban?

  • Comments (39)
Cars are buried in Grafton in this contributed photo.
Cars are buried in Grafton in this contributed photo. Photo Credit: Mike Scully

BOSTON, Mass. - Gov. Deval Patrick is lifting the Massachusetts driving ban as of 4 p.m. Saturday as the region cleans up in the aftermath of a storm that dropped 2 feet of snow.

Reader Results

Did you think the Mass. driving ban during the blizzard was necessary?

  • Yes

  • No


The ban had gone into effect Friday at 4 p.m.

Did you agree with the driving ban? Comment below and answer our poll.

  • 39

Comments (39)

88% of the respondents to this poll think it is a good idea for the government to dictate their movements and actions because of a snow storm? It seems to we have dealt with numerous storms on par or worse than this one without such out of the ordinary government intervention. What makes this storm so special? Can we expect this to be the new norm during adverse weather events? Slippery Slope? We think so.

Let's rephrase the question and see how it sits:

"Do you agree with his Excellency Deval Patrick ordering less intelligent Subservients of Massachusetts to not drive their motor vehicles or be placed under arrest by the State's Police as per the decree of his Excellency." Read the "Executive Order", it was issued by his Excellency.

Yes it was a good idea for people to make a PERSONAL decision not to venture out in a vehicle. A decision most responsible individuals with a touch of common sense made on their own without the Government's help. The well intentioned order did not prevent people from dying as people still managed to get themselves or their children killed during this storm... Do we start issuing executive orders for every contingency of poor judgment?

As for Mary Q's argument that this is not about personal liberty its about protecting others from the poor decisions of people. Can anyone explain how this order made members of society who used common sense and chose to stay off the roads more or less safe; in reality isn't it true this order had nearly NO effect on your safety, if you like many of us already decided not to travel for the duration of the storm.

What is more dangerous than this snow storm is for Americans to continue to accept the deterioration of our freedom of choice, liberty and movement for our "own protection" Especially under the threat of arrest by the STATE'S POLICE.

Let's boil it down, the offense would be driving a car during a snow storm. Maybe next time we will have a travel ban if his Excellency decides the air quality is not healthy enough for us to walk outside.

The order is given under the Civil Defense act of 1950, which was really to give sweeping powers to the government to address imminent threats to life to life and property. (i.e. the LA Riots of the 80's the Great Fire in Chicago, Hurricane Sandy type destruction of the infrastructure")

"“Civil defense” shall mean the preparation for and carrying out of all emergency functions, other than functions for which military forces other than national guard are primarily responsible, for the purpose of minimizing and repairing injury and damage resulting from disasters caused by attack, sabotage or other hostile action; or by riot or other civil disturbance; or by fire, flood, earthquake or other natural causes."

"Fire, Flood, or Earthquake" could kill someone even if they are using common sense and doing the right thing, that is they are an imminent threat to life period.

he civil defense act was not meant to address convenience in snow removal, individual stupidity, over dependence on government, or a lack of common sense problem that would prevent someone from self protection.

I agree the travel ban helped expedite getting the roads open. A ban on night time travel would also prevent violent and dangerous crimes from taking place at night too and a ban on day time travel would prevent 100's of deadly motor vehicle crashes...

WHERE DOES IT STOP? Government cannot ban society into self protection, and we are on a foolish path thinking giving up liberties affords us security.

When do we stop giving our collective civil liberties away in the name of protection of ourselves from ourselves?

Would a more responsible approach to governing in a FREE SOCIETY be to warn that public safety may not come to your immediate request for resuce; if you foolishly decide to venture out after 4 PM since Massachusetts will be under a state of emergency. Failure to heed the warning means you, yourself are placing your own life in danger and you should not expect roadside rescue efforts to be made until it is safe for first responders to do so.

This is just another little chip out of the block of personal liberty.

Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither. - Ben Franklin

I completely disagree with the ban. Why should the government decide if people should drive or not drive. If someone wants to drive, let em.

I also enjoyed staying inside, and I'm glad that most people did. However...

If the threat of jail time was to "get it through peoples heads", what happens when people realize that the law is not really going to be enforced the next time? Does the threat have to be increased? How far will it go?
Why aren't we first cracking down on drunk driving, unlicensed driving, and people like Lt. Gov. Murray who feel that it's OK to go 108 MPH?


I didn't agree with the jail time, a high citation would've been fine, but there are always the ones who will go out anyway figuring they won't get pulled over or won't get into an accident, so maybe it was put that way to get it through peoples heads that you need to stay off the roads. I have a scanner and it was very quiet this storm because people were where they should be, home, safe, and with their families. I felt better knowing that my family that does not live at home anymore were home safe, and not driving out to get the one thing they could probably go without for a day that could have cost them their lives if they were out and got into an accident. It was a matter of keeping people safe.Other storms in the past the scanner was going crazy with accidents, cars off the road, cars into poles. We all survived this storm and knew our loved ones were home safe, and I didn't feel I needed to go out on the roads, I for one enjoyed the down time at home spending it safe, warm and with my family.

Please understand-the ban was not put in place to protect you from your own bad choices. It was put in place to protect me and everyone else for your bad choices. It was put in place to prevent employers from pressuring workers into making unsafe decisions about when to leave. It was put in place to make sure that plows could keep the roads as clear as possible so an ambulance carrying someone to the hospital could get there, or a fire truck could go deal with someone's burning house.

It's not all about your freedom, it's about everyone's freedom.

It was a good idea to close the roads, but do you really need to threaten a year in jail? I had no plans of going on the roads, and if the employers pressure is the issue, the state should deal with the employers directly.

The reason I'm so annoyed about this thing IS because of everyone's freedom. You're saying that because some people are idiots and don't know when to stay off the roads, everyone should be threatened with jail time?

The governor did not need to threaten a year in jail to keep the roads clear. He could have just threatened tickets or license suspension (of course that would not have deterred the "undocumented" people from driving).

I think some people forget that driving in the state of Massachusetts is a privilege, not a right. And the state can revoke that privilege whenever they want.

I do agree that it could have been county based bans but better safe then sorry.. overall I think it helped out crews tremendously and probably saved quite a few lives as well.

Why do people go to extremes like this when trying to explain how their rights have been taken away? Deval isn't going to ban sugar or jail people for being in ozone areas. In my opinion, he was getting vehicles off the road so the snow plowing could be done. It takes a long time to get a whole town done, and then have to redo it as many times as it takes during a storm of this proportion. Did you see the tie-up in RI where people were stuck on the highway for 12 hours? One mom wrote a farewell note to her children because she thought she was going to freeze to death. (CBS News yesterday)

Agreed. Many people do not have a clue what is involved in keeping the roads open during a storm of this magnitude. After working all weekend, crews continue with the snow removal. In addition, they have to deal with public response which is not always a pleasant one.

As far as suger and ozone...It's called hyperbole, and it's to make a point. Driving is a privelege, but freedom is a right. To threaten to take away someone's freedom, even if they are acting prudently and following the state's driving laws is wrong.

The ban was put in effect based on a forecast. So now anytime a forcast model says a storm is coming, driving will be forbidden ahead of time?

The statehouse likes to have a state full of "sheeple" or "useful idiots" who are easilly led around. It's great because they vote you in continually, but the downside is that they can no longer make common sense decisions for themselves. So, when there's a big storm, you have to actually dictate that they stay off the roads, whereas they used to be able to come to that conclusion on their own.

I wouldn't have gone out driving with or without the ban. Common sense dictates that. The consequences set for violation of this ban were too heavy-handed, and if you disagree you might be one of the "sheeple" holding up the nanny state. (that's the general "you", referring to everyone in the state, btw.)

I like the way the Coast Guard does it. I think he should have said, "anyone that goes out during this time is doing so at their own risk, and any rescue effort if they get stuck will be paid for by them personally with the understanding that rescuers may not be able to get to them immediately."

...and now before you call me a heartless monster about the woman in RI, answer this: Would it have not had the same effect in MA if the roads had been closed with a threat of license suspension or citation? Why did the jail-time get thrown on there?

It was good that people were off the roads... but I'm not a fan of the over-the-top totalitarian approach.

Coming up next: Gov. Deval doesn't like that you eat sugar...anyone caught eating a donut, whether responsibly or not could be thrown in jail.

...or... "It's forecast to be an O-zone alert day tomorrow, so anyone caught on the roads will be jailed and/or fined."

Just because it worked to protect people doen't mean it's the right approach. It sets a terrible precedent, and frankly, it didn't save that boy in Boston from CO poisoning.

Does anyone know if RI had a ban on driving? They should have with the highway filling up with cars from which the occupants weren't rescued for 12 hours - see story of mother who wrote her children a letter thinking she was going to freeze to death.

Maybe if people weren't so darn stupid and lacking in common sense, he wouldn't have had to make the call. I'm not a Deval fan, either, but I'm glad he made this decision because he probably saved a lot of lives. Did you all see the pictures from Long Island? Remember what happened on Rt. 1 and Rt. 93 a few years back?

Oppressive leaders==>People get used to taking orders==>people stop thinking for themselves==>people forget how to think==>people need to re-elect oppressive leaders to tell them what to think==>people aren't allowed to think for themselves anymore for their own 'protection'.

Correct Decision... Concerns of the Govm'nt doing what they want, when they want aside - I was in Southern CT today around noon - Interstates with only 1 lane passable, on/off ramps with cars pointing in every direction, local roads not even passable due to cars and trucks - Mass highways (20, Mass Pike, 84) were all clear, and for that matter dry pavement.

This is stupid. I grew up in Shrewsbury and have seen some really really nasty snowstorms. But to say that a "government" entity decides when we travel on our paid roads is left and democrat all the way.

if not my moron 20 yr old son would of went driving in it and most likely crashed or hit something ...so ya good idea

Too funny Jamie, But I completely understand what you mean. Thank's for the laugh.

Safety of the citizens is top priority! You need to put all political nonsense aside. Having lived through '78, I think the governor was spot on with his decision of the travel ban. Also, the coordination between agencies was huge. It is Sunday, and there is still so much more clean up to be done.

It's not a question of whether it was necessary, it's a question of whether it's unconstitutional. The idea that a state official can lock people in their homes/towns is frightening, regardless of the circumstances. Except in time of war a governor should never even consider such a violation of individual rights.

Scott, it *was* Constitutional! We've passed laws that tell the governor when, if, and under what circumstances he/she can declare a state of emergency, and what they are allowed to do during state's of emergency. Laws, legally written and passed, allow for this.

At the time it was declared, there was nothing more than a forecast (which could be wrong) and 1-2" of snow...hardly an emergency.
Why not just say that state roads are closed with a suggestion from the Gov that towns follow suit? Why the threat of jail time? In my view it's a sign of a poor leader resorting to heavy-handed threats.

Actually because a law is on the books does not make it constitutional. The US Supreme Court recognized "freedom of movement" as a fundamental right under the Constitution. But I'm not an expert in constitutional law. I simply am not comfortable with such power being used because of a snow storm. By the way, the same law Patrick used to ban travel also allows for seizure of private property, and unauthorized entry into private home during a state of emergency. Nothing has to be voted on, no one has to be consulted, the governor just has to say so. Like I said, in war time it's one thing.

Freedom of movement?? So we all have a constitution right to Zumba and line dancing? Time to go back to school...unless you find that unconstitutional as well.

Not statewide. Certain areas would have been a better idea. Not the entire state. Out in Western Mass, the snow was over during Friday night/ early, early morning. Roads were cleared.

I agree - it should have at least been looked at by county. By early afternoon, roads around here were fine. Zero snow on the mass Pike when I was on it at 3pm yesterday.

Not statewide. Certain areas would have been a better idea. Not the entire state. Out in Western Mass, the snow was over during Friday night/ early, early morning. Roads were cleared.

Yes. For proof, you need look no further than the Long Island Expressway. Those who fail to learn from history...

I am certainly not a supporter of Deval, however, I give him props that this decision was incredibly wise. In fact when you look at how rapidly the blizzard is being cleared out, and how rapidly the utilities are getting to work. It's awesome. A well managed incident.

Those who voted "No" astound me. I've been monitoring facebook. If one more silly and hilarious jack wagon screams about how the ban was unconstitutional (it wasn't), a use of martial law (again, it wasn't), or how they would go out with their big redneck truck if they wanted (and they would have ended up in an incident too), I might scream. Deval had it right. Knuckleheads.

Didn't really matter in this storm. Only vehicles with plows were getting through, anyway!

A wonderful idea well executed! The other New England States wish they had done the same. Common Sense isn't always so common so I agree with the decision to allow our Public Works Departments to operate at maximum effect during obviously a major weather event that was easily predictable.

Great idea made it safer and easier for DPW and Public safety to do their jobs. Roads are cleaner quicker and for those medical staff that had to report much less stressful with the limited cars

While many of us make safe & reasonable decisions, there are the select few who need severe "incentives" to be responsible........as much as I hate a Nanny State, it really is for the greater good. Police, firemen & DPW workers didn't need to spend a single second rescuing an idiot driver and that is a good thing.

Thanks to our Highway Department who have been out there over thirty hours on this storm. We are safer because of your hard work.

No politics ~ I will simply answer the question.
Yes, it was great idea...The roads were obviously easier to clear and there werent any accidents as a result of being on the road, nor were the snow plow drivers dealing with people who shouldn't have been out (pulling them out of drifts, etc,) when their jobs were to clear roads.

It's the one smart thing Duval Patrick has done.