texting while driving


Texting While Driving in Massachusetts: Know The Laws


Driving while on a cell phone has undoubtedly led to accidents on the road which could have been prevented.  Massachusetts lawmakers continue to push for stricter regulations against cell phone use while driving.  For those of you that aren’t exactly sure what the current laws are, we’ve done some research so that you can be sure you are in compliance next time you go out for a drive.

Currently, the only law that restricts talking on a cell phone while driving applies to drivers under the age of 18 with a learner’s permit or provisional license.  Violators will have their license or learner’s permit suspended.  Junior Operator’s Licenses or Learner’s Permits will be suspended for 60 days for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense, and 1 year for a third or subsequent violation.
http://www.suspendedlicensehelp.com/blog/post/Massachusetts-to-Ban-Texting-JOL-Cell-Phone-Use-While-Driivng.aspx

While licensed drivers over the age of 18 are allowed to talk on the phone while driving, all drivers are banned from texting or other Internet activity when behind the wheel.  If found texting while driving, drivers will be fined $100 for their first offense, then $250, and then $500 for additional infractions.

This law may be frustrating for some drivers but there is good reason for it.  You may think that sending a quick text is no big deal but  texting drivers are 23 times more likely to get involved in a crash.  Sadly, statistics  like this have not been enough to keep drivers from texting behind the wheel which is why bans like this are becoming more common than ever across the country.
http://www.distraction.gov/content/get-the-facts/faq.html

In addition to these bans,  school bus operators and any public transit drivers are prohibited from any cell phone use whatsoever while driving, which is enforced with a $500 fine. http://handsfreeinfo.com/massachusetts-cell-phone-laws-legislation

As we said there is currently no ban on cell phone use (other than texting) on licensed drivers over the age of 18, however, a bill has recently been introduced in Massachusetts that would only allow for hands-free cell phone use.  This would mean that drivers would need to have a docking station for their phone that would allow them to utilize the speaker phone feature, use headphones, or a Bluetooth to allow for driving with both hands on the wheel.  This bill is yet to be passed.
http://e-lobbyist.com/gaits/MA/H3938

While many drivers see these laws as a nuisance, their purpose is to protect everyone on the road from the dangers of distracted driving.

Cell Phone Bill Proceeds to Senate

February 4th the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a bill banning texting while driving and requiring drivers to use a hands free device. The bill also restricts the use of cell phones by anyone under the age of 18 and requires drivers over 75 years to have a mandatory vision exam when their license is renewed every five years. A great success the legislation passed through the Massachusetts House of Representatives with a land slide vote of 146 to 9. However it has not been passed into law just yet, the bill must endure the senate’s scrutiny as well. If the legislation makes it to law it will make Massachusetts the 20th state to ban texting while driving and the 7th state to ban direct use of a hand-held cell phone.

Although strong support for bill was evident in the House of Representatives the legislation still needs to pass through the Senate to be enforced. Some opponents of the bill believe it impedes on the citizens civil rights and liberties. However a great number of representatives, including State Representative Carl Sciortino, believe the drivers safety and health take precedence. A similar bill was proposed the the Massachusetts government however never made it to law. Massachusetts Representatives, even some who approved the legislation, remain mixed about how strict they believe cell phone laws should be.

If the new legislation passes through the Massachusetts Senate violators will be charged $100 on the first offense, $250 on the second offense, and $500 on the third offense. The bill allows for insurance companies to decide for themselves whether or not to add a surcharge to drivers rates should they abuse cell phone use while driving. Also drivers under age 18 caught violating any of the restrictions found in the new legislation would have their license suspended. The new bill, if passed, is not to be taken lightly as made obvious by serious consequences if violated.

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