We’re all too aware of the accidents that can occur from distracted driving. For very good reasoning, hand-held cell phones are at the top of our list of things to avoid while driving. According to The National Safety Council, 26% of our nation’s car accidents were the result of the driver talking or texting on their cell phone.
Massachusetts is considering joining many of its neighboring states and banning the use of hand-held Mobile devices. Several bills that would require hands-free cellphone use have been filed for the 2015-2016 legislative session, none have been heard yet.
Massachusetts Current Law & Results
- A 2010 Massachusetts law bans texting while driving and any cellphone use car operators 18 or younger. Adults are also not allowed to text or drive — but they are permitted to hold their phones and drive at the same time.
- According to state data, through June, nearly 15,000 citations — with fines ranging from $100-$500 — for texting had been issued in Massachusetts under the 2010 law.
Laws & Fines in Massachusetts Neighboring States:
- New Hampshire, fines range from $100–$500.
- Vermont, fines range from $100–$500.
- Connecticut, penalties range from $150–$500.
- New York, violators can be fined up to $450 along with receiving a $93 surcharge for each violation.
- Rhode Island, a hands-free cellphone bill passed the state Senate in March but was referred for further study by the House.
U.S. State Cell Phone Use Laws – According to the Governors Highway Safety Association
See the complete list of states’ cell phone use laws.
- Hand-held Cell Phone Use: Currently, 14 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all car drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.
- All Cell Phone Use: No state bans all cell phone use for all drivers, but 38 states and D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers, and 20 states and D.C. prohibit it for school bus drivers.
- Text Messaging: Washington was the first state to pass a texting ban in 2007. Currently, 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers. All but 5 have primary enforcement. Of the 4 states without an all driver texting ban: 2 prohibit text messaging by novice drivers and 1 restricts school bus drivers from texting.