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Massachusetts Passed Hands-Free Cell Phone Driving Bill

Massachusetts Passed Hands-Free Cell Phone Driving Bill

Governor Charlie Baker signed a “hands-free” bill into law, making it illegal for Massachusetts drivers to hold a cell phone while behind the wheel of a car.

The law will take effect on February 23, 2020. However, drivers will be granted a “grace period” until March 31st, which allows first-time offenders to drive away with only a warning. After the grace period, people who are using their phone while driving will be required to pay fines — $100 for a first-time offense, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for any following offenses.

The fines apply to situations in which people are holding their cell phones to make a call, text, check social media, or take pictures while driving. The law permits the use of navigation apps, but only if the phone is mounted to the dashboard or windshield. Drivers can make calls if they are using Bluetooth, voice activation, or other hands-free communication technology.

The bill also specifies that information (such as the driver’s race and gender) from any traffic stops related to phone use offenses should be collected by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The purpose of this measure is “to help identify police agencies that may be engaging in racial profiling,” according to NBC Boston.

Distracted driving, and cell phone use in particular, is one of the leading causes of car accident injuries and deaths. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that “3,450 people [were] killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers” in 2016. Distracted driving contributed to approximately 391,000 injuries in 2015, and cell phone use accounted for about 30,000 of those injuries.

The Morgan & Murphy, LLP legal team has represented people injured by distracted drivers for over 30 years. We hope the inception of the new hands-free law will significantly reduce the number of distracted driving cases in Massachusetts and protect the residents of our state.

We are committed to helping car accident injury victims recover the compensation they deserve. If you were hurt in a collision that was caused by another driver’s negligence, contact our firm today.

To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, complete our contact form or call (508) 966-7254.


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