A victory for bicyclists on Beacon Hill - Mass. State Representatives voted 155-2 to pass a bill banning motorists from using handheld cellphones and electronic devices behind the wheel. MassBike is thrilled with the forward motion of this bill.
In 2010, lawmakers banned texting and emailing while driving but have since stopped short of a full ban on hand-held devices to make calls. This bill would bring Massachusetts up to par with 16 other states, including the neighboring states of NH, VT, NY, CT and RI.
In each of the last two sessions, the Senate has passed versions of a hands-free device bill, and they plans to take up their own version of the bill on June 6.
The bill would prohibit the use of mobile electronic devices by drivers unless the device is being used in hands-free mode, with a single touch or swipe allowed to active hands-free operation. The restriction would not apply to public safety personnel or first responders performing their duties and drivers could still use mobile electronic devices in certain emergency situations.
Violations would be punished by $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second offense, and $500 for third or later offenses.