Massachusetts Proposing Complete Cellphone Ban in Vehicles
Massachusetts lawmakers are proposing to restrict cellphone use by drivers in the state. Massachusetts already has a texting ban that was instituted two years ago – which was passed in the hopes of many that it would reduce distracted driving car accidents caused by texting. Legislators, however, were surprised at the poor turnout at a recent hearing regarding banning the use of all handheld cellphones in vehicles.
NTSB Proposed Cellphone Ban
In December, the National Transportation Safety Board pleaded for each state to put a complete cellphone ban into place. The NTSB cited the many deaths and injuries resulting from distracted driving. The Board also called for high-visibility enforcement of the ban. Massachusetts lawmakers are taking this seriously. One lawmaker said, “Anybody putting one of those things in their hand while driving is potentially committing suicide.”
Massachusetts’ Cellphone Laws
The current law in Massachusetts bans all drivers from texting while driving and implements heavy fines for people caught texting. The law also bans people under the age of 18 from using cellphones at all except for emergency calls. Law enforcement and citizens have complained that the ban is difficult to implement and so far has not made a difference in the texting while driving problem. The new law, however, would ban all use of cellphones in vehicles unless the cellphones are hands free.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a study that shows high-visibility enforcement of cellphone bans, coupled with public education, dramatically cuts distracted driving. The study focused on Syracuse, New York and Hartford, Connecticut. Due to the high-visibility enforcement in Syracuse, cellphone use while driving decreased by one third and similar results were found in Hartford.
Distracted Driving is a serious problem in our country. In 2009, 16 percent of all traffic deaths resulted from distracted driving. There were nearly 5,500 deaths and a half million injuries from distracted driving. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver due to their texting while driving, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area today.