Lawmakers pass bill making it illegal to use phone when driving

1.6 million drivers get into accidents each year because they were using their cell phone while driving

HATFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Senate has passed a bill that makes it illegal for you to use a cell phone while driving.

Police agree with lawmakers who said making this bill a law could potentially save lives.

A quick glance away from the road can be the difference between life and death. The National Safety Council says every year, 1.6 million drivers get into accidents because they were using their cell phone behind the wheel. Massachusetts lawmakers met Thursday to debate a proposed bill that makes it illegal to even touch your phone when driving.

“I see too many people driving that are clearly distracted,” said Jason Foster of Northampton. “And the less distractions, the safer. Plus, we have a new 16-year-old driver in our family, and the last thing that we want is him using his phone while he’s driving.”

Currently, Massachusetts adults can use their phones to make a call. Under the proposed bill, you can only make calls in hands-free mode, with a speaker phone or Bluetooth. If this law is passed, it means that you cannot touch a cell phone for any reason, unless it’s for an emergency. The Hatfield police department agrees that implementing this law would only increase safety.

“Anything that would help not distract people while they’re driving when it comes to their cell phones is obviously a good idea,” said Lt. Michael Dekoschak of the Hatfield Police Department.

Lt. Dekoschak said sometimes, it’s hard to prove who was on their cellphone during a collision, unless someone admits to it.

“There’s a process to find out if they were on their phone or not. Depending on the severity of the accident, it makes a big difference resource-wise,” Lt. Dekoschak said.

Requesting phone records to prove who’s at fault costs time and money. Lt. Dekoschak is hopeful passing this bill could minimize these situations, keeping drivers’ attention off the phone and on the road.