Gov. Baker Signs Distracted Driving Bill Into Law

charlie baker distracted driving bill sign

(Karyn Regal/WBZ NewsRadio)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — There were cheers on Beacon Hill Monday afternoon as Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a bill that bans hand-held cell phone use while driving in Massachusetts.

"This bill adopts recommendations in the Strategic Highway Safety Plan stipulating that no operators of motor vehicles and bicycles can use devices unless the technology is being used hands-free," Gov. Baker said.

The bill will take effect in 90 days, and calls for fines of up to $500.

"When a driver on an electronic device hits something or someone, that's not an accident," Gov. Baker said. "It's a crash that was avoidable."

Many were in attendance who lost a child, or a parent, or a friend in a drunk driving crash—or were themselves hurt in one.

Jerry Sibley's son, Jordan, was killed in a drunk driving crash.

"I got handed something that I wasn't expecting, didn't want, what can I do positive? And I vowed the day I buried my son, when I gave his eulogy, I vowed he would never be forgotten," he told WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal.

Gerry Katz lost her stepson, and calls the day bittersweet.

"On one side, we're missing our son, and on the other side, we've used his death to bring forward this legislation, so it's loss, and happiness that we're gonna save lives," she said.

Massachusetts has now joined every other New England state in banning drivers' hand-held cell phone use. Drivers will still be allowed to use hands-free cell phones using Bluetooth or other means.

The bill requires that law enforcement officers report data on violations, so that the data can be shared with the public.

WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports

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