Distracted Driving bill emerges from lawmakers

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Months of debate have finally come to an end, members of the Conference Committee have approved a hands-free driving bill but it still needs legislative approval before it can go to the governor.

Two distracted driving bills, one filed by the House and the other by the Senate were approved by committee members on Monday morning.

Both bills called for a ban on all hand-held cell phone use while driving, except for a single tap or swipe to activate the hands-free mode. The bills vary on how to collect data during traffic stops.

The version that the conference committee agreed to would require the RMV to collect data from every traffic stop ending in a citation, which would be sent to an outside agency for analysis.

Racial profiling concerns around data collection held the bill up in committee for about 5 months.

Those who lost loved ones in distracted driving crashes are happy to see that an agreement was reached but they are hoping it will signed into law before thanksgiving.

“We did this to save lives. We don’t parents to go through what we went through it was hell especially the first 2 years, to see a beautiful girl at the top of her life…ended,” Tom Brannelly said.

If passed, drivers would be fined $100 for their 1st offense, $250 for the 2nd offense and $500 every offense after that.

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