|Massachusetts Bills Seeks to Outlaw Cell Phone Drivers in School Zones|
|Written by Ryan Gray|
|Thursday, 27 January 2011 00:00|
Legislation was introduced in both the Massachusetts House and Senate that would prohibit all motorists of any age, including school bus drivers, from using mobile phones while driving though school zones.
The bills will seek to amend Chapter 90 of the state's general laws. All motorists, including but not limited to law enforcement officers, firefighters and other emergency responders or health care providers, are exempt if they are using a cell phone in an emergency.
As of this writing, both bills did not yet have House or Senate numbers but were available in docket form. A spokesman for Rep. Denise Provost, the House sponsor, said bill numbers will likely be assigned after a deadline of Feb. 4 to add co-sponsors and when the bills are are formally read. Then the bills must be assigned to committee, likely transportation, he added.
State Sen. Mark Montigny is also introducing a similar bill on his side of the General Court of the Commonwealth.
Safe Roads Alliance, a non-profit based in North Andover that promotes safer driving, helped draft the legislation. The organization's Web site cites NHTSA data that indicates at least 77 percent of traffic accidents nationwide are the result of driver error, and motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 16 to 24 year olds.
"We want people to understand there are times when they should not be talking on a cell phone, and this is the most critical time out there," said Jeff Larson, president of Safe Roads Alliance.
He added it could take months before the bills gain momentum in the legislature as the main focus currently appears to be addressing the state budget. Gov. Deval Patrick proposed widescale budget cuts this week in response to what is being reported as a $1.5 billion to $2 billion structural deficit. But education was earmarked for a record amount.
|Last Updated on Monday, 31 January 2011 08:11|