We all know that cell phones have a significant part to play in the problem of distracted driving, both in Massachusetts and across the country. Most states, in an effort to address the problem, have passed some form of restriction on the use of cell phones while driving. Massachusetts’ restrictions are certainly not the strictest out there, but they aren’t the most lenient, either.

Under Massachusetts law, all drivers are banned from texting, which has been shown to be particularly distracting for drivers. School bus drivers and novice drivers are banned from all cell phone use, while adult drivers with full licenses are allowed to use hand-held devices, though not for texting. First-time offenders currently face a fine of $100. 

These laws are clear enough and perhaps enough well-known, but there are still questions as to how effective they are in addressing the issue of distracted driving in Massachusetts. The biggest problem, say experts, is that it is a real challenge to enforce the laws because police officers are often unable to distinguish between texting and talking on a cell phone. Monitoring this behavior is not easy, and police officers are simply not going to be able to do it consistently.

Some feel the laws can be improved so as to make them more effective in fighting distracted driving. One lawmaker, for instance, is proposing a law that would require motorists to use hand-held devices and which would impose a hefty fine for drivers caught toughing a cell phone behind the wheel.

In our next post, we’ll continue discussing this issue and what distracted driving victims can do to protect their right to compensation.

Source: Governor’s Highway Safety Association, “Massachusetts,” Accessed April 2015.