Massachusetts House panel is reviewing legislation that would require
drivers to keep their hands off cell phones.
which would prohibit hand-held cell phone use while driving, is
now before the House Ways and Means Committee. Talking on a phone
equipped with a “hands-free” device would still be permitted.
bill, sponsored by Rep. Peter Koutoujian, D-Newton, also would ban
the use of any cell phone by drivers under the age of 18.
young driver provision comes on the heels of a National Transportation
Safety Board report released in June that recommended novice drivers
be prohibited from using cell phones while on the road.
safety board says that young drivers account for only 7 percent
of the driving population but are involved in 15 percent of fatal
accidents. Distracted drivers take 1.5 seconds longer to respond
to hazards, the agency says.
how to drive and getting comfortable in traffic requires all the
concentration a novice driver can muster,” NTSB Chairwoman Ellen
Engleman said in a recent statement. “Adding a distracting element
like a cell phone is placing too many demands on a young driver’s
on drivers over 18 include a $250 fine for a first offense and $500
for a second offense, the Milford Daily News reported. Anyone
under 18 who uses a cell phone would lose his or her license and
be fined up to $100.
New York has the only statewide law restricting cell phone use in
vehicles. According to the Boston Globe, only Maine and New
Jersey have enacted legislation banning young drivers from using
cell phones, while the 48 other states have considered similar legislation.