How Do Our Cell Phone Laws Compare?

Cell phones and driving have been in the news in Massachusetts quite a bit lately.  That is because there is yet another bill pending to limit (and in some cases ban) how we can use our cell phones when driving.

How do other states handle this issue of legislating common sense?  (Which, given the fact that people actually receive and write texts while driving, might be a good idea).  Currently, in Massachusetts, each town or city has the authority to ban cell phone use while driving within their city or town.  Interestingly enough, the only town that has actually enacted an ordinance to prohibit talking on a cell phone while driving is Brookline.  This means if you live or work or travel through Brookline, you had better stop talking or get a hands free device.

Currently, the only people who are not allowed to use cell phones while they are driving in Massachusetts are school bus drivers.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Massachusetts joins Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.  If you are counting that leaves 38 states that allow school bus drivers to talk on a cell phone while they are driving kids around!

Only 6 states have statewide bans on talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving: California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Utah, Washington.  The District of Columbia also has a ban.  Of these states, the only state that only Washington and New Jersey have explicit text messaging bans.

Massachusetts is on the leading edge of this new law.  Now let’s wait to see if it passes through the Senate.

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