Put down the phone: Senate bill targets distracted driving

State law currently prohibits texting by drivers

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are taking another look at distracted driving.

A bill scheduled to be considered by the state Senate on Thursday would prohibit motorists from using cellphones or other electronic devices while behind the wheel, unless those devices are in hands-free mode.

Exceptions would be made for emergency situations, and drivers would be allowed to tap or swipe their phones a single time to activate hands-free mode or send a voice command to a GPS navigation device.

The legislation would also prohibit motorists from reading or composing messages, or accessing social media.

A similar bill passed the Senate during the last legislative session but was not taken up in the House.

State law currently prohibits texting by drivers and any cellphone use at all by junior operators.

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