Bills would ban holding cell phones while driving

Proponents say law as it is makes texting ban unenforceable

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BOSTON (WWLP) – It is already illegal in Massachusetts to text and drive, but it may soon also be against the law to simply hold your cell phone in your car. State lawmakers are looking to crack down on distracted driving; particularly among teenagers.

According to AAA, more than half of all teen crashes are caused by distractions at the wheel. This can range anywhere from using a cell phone to dancing in the car.

Some state lawmakers believe that the ban on texting while driving is unenforceable so long as people are still able to hold their cell phones. Tuesday, the legislature’s Transportation Committee will consider 18 bills, including three that would ban the use of all cell phones in the car, unless it is done through a hands-free device, such as Bluetooth.

“People can use their cell phones in a hands-free fashion. Law enforcement will be able to then determine whether someone is texting or not, something that they can’t do now, and on so many levels it makes sense,” Rep. Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee) said.

The Transportation Committee will also consider changes to speed limits, as well as enforcing higher fees and penalties for those caught texting and driving.

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