BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers are one step closer to banning talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving. The Senate voted to approve a bill that would make holding a phone or electronic device behind the wheel against the law.
Technology is all around us, which makes using a phone behind the wheel that much more tempting. But taking your eyes off the road for a few seconds can be deadly.
Texting while driving is illegal in Massachusetts, but you could soon receive a fine for even holding your phone behind the wheel.
“People are using them to check yelp reviews, to check their driving directions, to text friends. Bottom line is that’s very, very dangerous,” said State Senator Eric Lesser, (D) Longmeadow.
The Senate passed legislation Thursday that would make using a hand-held phone or electronic device while driving against the law. You must instead use a hands-free device, like a headset or speaker system.
“So many people have had negative experiences in the car nearly getting hit, nearly getting cut off, nearly getting run over,” said State Senator Don Humason, (R) Westfield.
If passed into law, Massachusetts residents won’t be allowed to hold or touch a cellphone behind the wheel, except for emergency responders.
If you’re caught, you could get handed a $100 fine for the first offense and up to $500 after. Some lawmakers expressed concerns that these fines are too strict, but lawmakers told 22News that this could help save lives.
“This is a very serious issue and people have lost their lives because of distracted driving and we want that to end,” said State Senator Jim Welch, (D) West Springfield.
All of Massachusetts neighboring states, including New Hampshire, New York and Connecticut, prohibit drivers from using hand held devices while driving.
The bill must still pass in the House and receive approval from the Governor before it can become law.