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Massachusetts Senate Votes to Texting Behind the Wheel

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Senate approved legislation that will ban text messaging behind the wheel and require cognitive and physical screenings for older drivers in Massachusetts. Drivers between the ages of 75 and 80 will have to pass the tests to renew their licenses, and drivers over 80 will have to pass the tests every three years. Though the bill initially required drivers to get tested at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, legislators opted to create a form and allow doctors to perform the tests. This legislation comes in response to several fatal car crashes involving older drivers.

The House had approved a plan that would have require drivers to use hands-free cell phone models with voice-activated dialing and would make text messaging a secondary offense, but that plan was rejected by the Senate. Instead, the Senate agreed to make text messaging a primary offense. Police will be allowed to stop and city Massachusetts drivers caught text messaging on the road.

Legislators are also considering a bill that would prohibit school bus drivers from using cell phones and another bill that would allow health care providers to report the names of patients they could be an endangerment to themselves and others on the road.

Source: Senate approves elderly driving bill, texting ban, Boston Herald, March 2, 2010
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