State lawmakers have reached a tentative agreement on a new law that would ban motorists from texting while driving. The effort is aimed at reducing the number of Massachusetts car accidents caused by distracted driving.
As we reported recently on our Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, state leaders were taken to task in a report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association, which found that Massachusetts lags being most of the rest of the states in the nation for efforts aimed at reducing distracted driving.
After six years of debate, the agreement would also ban young drivers under the age of 18 from using a cell phone while driving, the Boston Globe reported. Drivers over the age of 75 would be required to have their vision tested and would need to renew their license in person, rather than online.
Once passed, the Safe Driving Act will head to the governor’s office, where a spokesperson said he would review it. The effort would make Massachusetts the 29th state to ban texting while driving and the 29th to ban cell phone use for drivers under 18.
The texting ban would also cover e-mailing, Internet searches and other non-calling activities on phones, laptops and handheld devices by drivers. Texting, or phone calls by those under 18, would be allowed in an emergency or when a car is parked.
“If you’re behind the wheel and you’re texting and law enforcement sees you, you will be pulled over, you will be cited, and you will be paying a substantial fine,” said Sen. Steven Baddour.
The law would also make it easier for police officers and doctors to alert the Registry of Motor Vehicles regarding the driving fitness of older motorists. Massachusetts has more than 300,000 drivers over the age of 75 and about 170,000 drivers within five years of turning 75. Nearly 50,000 drivers are under the age of 18.
Under the proposed law, the Registry would also be required to establish an educational campaign warning of the dangers of distracted driving.
If you have been injured in a Boston car accident or an accident elsewhere in Massachusetts, contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.