Hands-Free Driving Bill Moves One Step Closer

A ban on using handheld cell phones while driving has cleared its latest hurdle on Beacon Hill.

A bill banning the use of a handheld cell phone while driving cleared its latest hurdle on Beacon Hill Tuesday

The bill, sponsored by Transportation Committee chairman Rep. William Straus of Mattapoisett, received a favorable vote in the House without any discussion, after it passed through committee on October 15, reports the State House News Service. It encourages the use of hands-free devices as an alternative, and allows for handheld phones in the event of an emergency.

“No operator of a motor vehicle shall use a mobile telephone or mobile electronic device for voice communications, unless said telephone or device is being used as a hands-free mobile telephone or to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function,” the bill reads.

Emergency situations, as defined by the bill, includes a disabled vehicle or accident on the roadway, or any other event requiring medical attention or assistance, or police or fire department intervention.

The bill requires one more favorable vote in the House before it heads to the Senate for consideration.