According to the Massachusetts State House News Service, it will be prohibited to use a hand-held device while driving under new legislation that was initially approved on Tuesday. Texting while driving has been illegal in the state for five years. When it was initially passed in 2010, the law failed to impose a ban on hand-held cell phone use. For this reason, it has been nearly impossible for authorities to enforce the law.
A second vote in favor of the new bill is required to move it to the Senate, however, it is highly likely that this will happen. Tuesday’s bill was passed with zero discussion. Contact a Boston Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer.
Are Hands-Free Devices Safer?
Although it is widely understood that cell phones and other devices are dangerous while driving, there is some controversy around the use of hands-free devices. If the new bill is passed, it will encourage drivers to use hands-free devices in place of their hand-held counterparts. However, there is some concern that such a law will mislead drivers into thinking that hands-free devices are entirely safe. The reality is, any form of multi-tasking results in a distracted driver. Approximately 26% of Boston auto accidents involve cell phone use, and this includes hands-free. In fact, new studies show that voice-to-text can be more distracting than traditional typing.
The three elements of distraction-free driving are:
Hands on the wheel
Eyes on the road
Mind on driving
Cell phones and other devices are certainly not the only form of distraction while driving. Eating, drinking, talking to passengers, dealing with pets, changing the stereo, and putting on make-up are other common examples. However, cell phone use continues to remain the most dangerous form of distracted driving.
Although hands-free devices still pose a risk, the new law does have some clear benefits. A hands-free law allows police to finally enforce the law that has been on the books for more than five years. The knowledge that a phone in the hand is equal to a fine will likely result in drivers who are more inclined to leave their phone on the passenger seat, or put it in their glove box or handbag. The use of smartphones continues to grow, and they aren’t going away. Currently, 14 states ban the use of hand-held devices while driving. These laws aren’t perfect, and they will certainly continue to evolve right along with technology, but they are a solid effort at making Massachusetts roads safer for everyone. Continue reading