Each year, vehicle crashes cause over 30,000 fatalities in the United States. Over one in four of fatal crashes are caused by distracted driving, with cell phone use being a major culprit. On top of that, the number of vehicle fatalities in Massachusetts increased by 13 percent in 2016. Because of this, Democratic State Senator Mark Montigny is pushing for legislative action to prevent these tragedies from happening.
Sen. Montigny has been attempting to ban handheld cell phone use while driving since 2003. He has gotten close: in 2016 and 2017, his bills were passed in the state Senate before dying in the House of Representatives. This year’s handheld device bill, S2120, is co-sponsored by 27 others from the Senate and has support from the Safe Roads Alliance. If passed, S2120 will ban the use of all handheld cell phones and other devices while operating a car. Every state bordering Massachusetts already has a similar ban in place.
While Massachusetts already bans texting while driving, anyone 18 years or older is allowed to hold their device to their ear. There is also some concern that the texting ban is not sufficient because drivers are still allowed to dial numbers – and can claim that’s what they were doing if they get pulled over for texting.
In Sen. Montigny’s own words on the matter, “distracted driving from unnecessary cell phone use is a major hazard for motorists and pedestrians leading to traffic injuries and loss of life. Hands free technology is readily accessible and affordable, and we must act now to save lives and help law enforcement increase roadway safety.”
If you or a loved one has experienced pain or suffering caused by a distracted driver, consider reaching out to us today at (617) 391-9001 to discuss your legal options.
A partner at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP in Boston, J. Tucker Merrigan represents individual clients throughout all of Massachusetts and the United States—concentrating his practice on cases that involve personal injury, defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, wrongful death, premises liability, products liability, medical malpractice, and insurance law. Known for strong client relationships and positive results, Merrigan has been named a Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorney by National Trial Lawyers from 2015-2018 and named Super Lawyer Rising Star for 2018.