PITTSFIELD -- Shortly after Gov. Deval Patrick a statewide driving ban after 4 p.m., the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency says drivers should use their "best judgment in determining if travel is permitted under an exception to the ban."
Police are being "asked to interpret the exceptions broadly; the objective is to limit traffic as much as possible while allowing critical public and private sector services and functions to use the roads as necessary," according to a statement MEMA posted on its website.
The MEMA notice also lists a number of exceptions to the ban: "Driving ban in place starting at 4 p.m. All motorists MUST be off the roads except for public safety and public works workers, government officials conducting official business, utility workers, health care workers who must travel , news media. Travel also is allowed if necessary to maintain and deliver critical private sector services such as energy, fuel supplies and delivery, financial systems and the delivery of critical commodities, or to support business operations that provide critical services to the public, including gasoline stations, food stores and hardware stores. Motorists must use their best judgment in determining if travel is permitted under an exception to the ban. Law enforcement is being asked to interpret the exceptions broadly; the objective is to limit traffic as much as possible while allowing critical public and private sector services and functions to use the roads as necessary. Do not call 911 about the travel ban, phone lines are needed for emergency calls."
Patrick said as the storm gains strength it will bring "extremely dangerous conditions" with bands of snow dropping up to two to three inches per hour at the height of the blizzard, prompting whiteout conditions.
Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi is attempting to learn more about the ban concerning roads in the area, according to city Director of Administrative Services Donna Mattoon.
According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the travel ban applies to all roads in the state, but there are various exceptions. Boston.com reported that these include public safety, media and vehicles supplying esssential businesses like convenience stores and hardware stores.
Violating the travel ban could incur a penalty of a year in jail and a $500 fine.