Lawmakers pushing legislation to curb distracted driving

One bill would prohibit cell phone use in a school zone

BOSTON (WWLP)-If you’re caught using a phone in a school zone, you could soon receive a fine. State lawmakers are pushing legislation to curb distracted driving.

Texting while driving is illegal in Massachusetts, but adults can still hold their phones and drive….a distraction one lawmaker told 22News can put children’s lives at risk.

“A moments eyes off the road and a disaster can happen,” said State Rep. Elizabeth Poirier, (R) North Attleborough.

One proposal would prohibit you from using a cell phone in a school zone, or face a fine of $100 dollars. The second offense would cost you $200 dollars.

Bus drivers at the Transportation Committee’s public hearing also support the bill. They told 22News they deal with distracted drivers on a daily basis and the problem keeps increasing.

“We have children crossing roads. We want to protect them,” said David Strong, President of Strong Bus Corporation. “We don’t want you to go by the bus and hit one of them.”

When you see school bus lights flashing and a stop sign extends, you are required by law to immediately stop or face fines starting at $250 dollars. But one Easthampton bus driver told 22News many cars ignore the signals and pull around his bus.

“I know people think, ‘oh, I don’t want to be stuck behind the bus, because that’s going to hold me up.’ If we’re talking a minute or two of your time, what’s a child’s life worth,” Strong said.

One bill would require buses to have cameras installed on the outside. If you pass the bus, the camera would capture your license plate and send it to the police.

The bills are currently under review by the Transportation Committee and have yet to be approved.