The Massachusetts House passed a measure that would not only bar drivers in the state from talking on handheld phones, but also would prohibit them from texting while driving. The bill is the latest attempt by lawmakers to decrease the number of distracted driving accidents. A similar measure died in the Massachusetts Senate last year.
If these proposals become law, Massachusetts would be the 20th state, in addition to Washington DC, to ban texting while driving and the 7th state to ban handheld phones. Drivers under the age 18 would be prohibited from using any kind of cell phone when there are behind the steering wheel of a car.
The National Safety Council says that at least 1.6 million US car accidents occur every year because a motorist was talking on a cell phone or texting. While texting is even more dangerous than talking on a phone, because so many more people talk on the phone while driving it is the cause of more motor vehicle accidents. Drivers who text message cause 200,000 car crashes annually, while motorists who talk on cell phones cause 1.4 million auto collisions.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Talking on the phone and text messaging while operating a vehicle are now considered distracted driving activities that can be cited as grounds for a Boston injury lawsuit or a Massachusetts wrongful death complaint.
This latest Massachusetts measure also calls for drivers older than 75 to undergo a vision test every five years before they can renew their driver’s license. The AARP disagrees with any rules that single out elderly motorists solely based on age. However, concern has been growing in the state over the recent number of Massachusetts car accidents that have involved elderly drivers whose waning mental and sensory faculties appeared to have contributed to causing traffic collisions that injured others.
Mass. House OK’s driving safety bill, Boston.com, February 5, 2010
National Safety Council Estimates That At Least 1.6 Million Crashes Are Caused Each Year by Drivers Using Cell Phones and Texting, PR Newswire, January 12, 2010
Related Web Resources:
National Safety Council
Cell Phone Laws, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
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