Junior Operators Cell Phone Ban Proposed in Massachusetts

There is a bill before the Massachusetts Legislature to ban junior operators (those drivers between 16 1/2 and 18) from using cell phones while driving.   The bill also includes making it illegal for any driver to text message while driving.  The new law carries a proposed $100 dollar fine for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 for any third and subsequent offense.   Junior operators would face a license suspension of 60 days for the first offense, 180 for the second offense and 1 year for three or more offenses.

The bill is expected to be approved by the Massachusetts Legislature’s Transportation Committee on Monday, January 14, 2007.  It should be sent to the House of Representatives later in the week.  This is not the first time a hands-free cell phone law has been proposed in Massachusetts, but there is a new push following the death of 13 year old Earman Machado in Taunton.

Earman was allegedly killed by a motorist who was driving down a dark road while texting a message on his cell phone.

California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Washington, and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.  Hands-free devices are allowed.

South Coast Today and Boston.com have more information on the pending legislation.

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