BOSTON — To enforce Gov. Deval Patrick’s 24-hour driving ban during last week’s blizzard, State Police issued many warnings, gave three citations and one criminal complaint, according to State Police spokesman Dave Procopio.
For the most part there was little police action needed, as the public heeded Patrick’s call to stay off the roads starting at 4 p.m. Friday.
“By and large the citizens took the governor’s request to heart and there were very few vehicles on the roads,” Procopio said. No one was arrested for violating the order, he said.
Though the penalty for violating an executive order can be up to a year of imprisonment, Patrick told reporters on Friday that the aim was to keep the roads clear for plows, not to lock people up.
“The point is not to figure out how to come down hard on people, it’s to emphasize how critical it is that non-essential travel on the roads cease during this storm and in the immediate aftermath. We are trying to be and will be flexible,” Patrick said on Friday.
Procopio said state troopers were advised to use discretion in enforcing the ban, and the vast majority of traffic stops of people not covered under the orders exemptions were resulted in a warning.
“We went into it with the understanding and the agreement by the governor that we were going to enforce it with discretion,” Procopio said.