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Massachusetts ban on hand-held cellphone use while driving passes



Pending signature by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Massachusetts drivers will no longer be able to use hand-held cellphones while driving.

The Senate voted today in favor 38-1 with one no vote after yesterday’s passage in the House of Representatives.

A violation of the bill shall be punishable by a fine of $100 for a first offense, by a fine of $250 for a second offense and by a fine of $500 for a third or subsequent offense. In addition to any fines, an operator who commits a second or subsequent offense shall be required to complete a program selected by the registrar of motor vehicles that encourages a change in driver behavior and attitude about distracted driving.

The registry of motor vehicles shall collect data from any citation issued regarding the following information: (i) identifying characteristics of the individuals who receive a warning or citation or who are arrested, including the age, race and gender of the individual; (ii) the traffic infraction; (iii) the date and time of the offense and the municipality in which the offense was committed; (iv) whether a search was initiated as a result of the stop; and (v) whether the stop resulted in a warning, citation or arrest.

The bill does not apply to public safety personnel or emergency first responders using a mobile electronic device while operating an emergency services vehicle and engaged in the performance of their duties.

The registry of motor vehicles shall maintain statistical information on the data required and shall report that information annually to the secretary of public safety and security in an attempt to avoid profiling.

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