Massachusetts may soon ban hand-held cellphones while driving

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts drivers could soon have to follow a new law or face a $100 fine.

The Massachusetts Senate approved a bill this week that would prohibit Massachusetts drivers from holding their cellphones behind the wheel.

Under the proposal, drivers wouldn’t be able to hold their cell phones while driving, which could range from talking on the phone to entering information into a GPS.

Using a hand-held cellphone behind the wheel is banned in Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.

In total, 14 states and the District of Columbia have enacted similar laws.

Under the bill that just cleared the Senate, drivers would only be able to use their cellphones with hands-free technology, like a Bluetooth device. Exceptions would be made for certain emergency situations.

Massachusetts banned texting while driving in 2010.

AAA has told state lawmakers they believe the bill would make it easier for police to enforce the texting ban, while also reducing the number of car accidents.

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people were killed and 400,000 others were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2013.

State lawmakers said they hope this bill would prevent drivers from multitasking while driving.

If the bill gets signed into law, the penalties for violating it wouldn’t be cheap.

Fines would range from $100 for the first offense to $500 for the third offense.

The House of Representatives still needs vote on the bill. If it’s approved, the measure will go to Governor Baker’s desk for a final signature.

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