BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker signed into law legislation, Monday afternoon, to finally ban the use of handheld electronic devices while driving.

Longtime bill sponsor Senator Mark Montigny first filed a hands-free bill 5,807 days ago and has worked closely with families who have lost loved ones due to distracted driving.

Prior to today, Massachusetts was the only New England state without such a law. Montigny's legislation had been successful in the past two legislative sessions, receiving approval in 2016 and 2017. However, the House of Representatives did not take action until May of this year.

" Today marks a significant milestone on the increasing safety on our roadways. For far too long, distracted driving has claimed the lives of innocent people and robbed families of planning graduations, weddings, holidays, and so many significant milestones we too often take for granted," said Montigny.

" I am so thankful to the families who have shown tremendous strength and courage throughout this long legislative process," Montigny added.

Since 2004, Montigny has worked with families of distracted driving victims to prohibit the use of handheld devices while driving.

With the Governor's signature, the new law will take effect in 90 days. Upon effect, first-time violations will be issued a written warning until March 31, 2020. After that, violations will be subject to a fine and possible insurance surcharge for repeat offenders.

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