State Senate Passes Ban on Phone Use While Driving

June 14, 2019 Driving Safety

The Massachusetts State Senate recently passed a ban preventing all drivers in the state from using handheld mobile devices while driving. The bill, entitled An Act Preventing Distracted Driving, received unanimous support. Its passage prohibits all drivers from using mobile phones for talking or other purposes while in motion. In May, the House voted in favor of similar legislation. The Senate and the House will now work to reconcile these bills.

This bill builds on a 2010 law, which banned texting while driving statewide and also prohibited the use of handheld devices by all drivers under age 18. Currently, 46 states prohibit motorists from texting while driving, and 14 ban all use of handheld devices while driving. The Massachusetts bill will still allow drivers to talk on hands-free devices. The bill also makes exceptions for certain emergency purposes.

First-time offenses will result in a $100 fine. Drivers who violate the law a second time will be fined $250. Subsequent offenses will result in a $500 fine. According to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, all violations after the first will require drivers complete a driver-education program.

Risks of Distracted Driving

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently published a new survey on distracted driving in the United States. According to the results, cellphone manipulations rose 57% percent over previous surveys.

During 2017, the IIHS indicated cellphone use contributed to more than 800 traffic deaths. The roadside survey says drivers were 57% more likely to use a cellphone versus a 2014 survey. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) adds that distracted driving contributed to 3,450 deaths in 2016, and an estimated 400,000 injuries one year prior.

One Family’s Tragic Loss

A related news article details the struggle one Norwood family endured six years ago after their daughter was killed by a suspected distracted driver. The family has praised the bill, suggesting it will save lives.

We Can Help

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