Montigny Continues to Push Hands-Free Legislation
BOSTON — Senator Mark Montigny continues to make a push to prohibit handheld cell use while driving.
Senator Montigny called upon state lawmakers to finalize his legislation before the legislature's annual summer recess. Earlier this session, the bill received approval from the House and Senate, creating a conference committee to produce a final version for Governor Baker. When the negotiations began last month, Montigny worked with families of distracted driving victims to strongly advocate for several measures, including insurance surcharges for repeat offenders and strong provisions to ensure emergency exceptions are limited in scope.
Montigny began filing this hands-free legislation in 2004, and his bill passed the Senate during his past two legislative sessions only to later die in the House of Representatives. A similar measure offered by Montigny in 2010 was narrowly defeated by two votes during the Safe Driving Bill debate. Montigny's latest measure is co-sponsored by a majority of the Senate, 27 Representatives, and supported by the Safe Roads Alliance and its advocacy coalition. Governor Charlie Baker also included Montigny's language in his road safety bill, S7.
Montigny's most recent appeal comes after conference negotiators this week would not commit to producing a final bill before July 31st. He stated, " While we all want to ensure this measure is fully vetted, we have had over 15 years to do so. Each day we fail to take action results in injury, property damage, and loss of life. Families who have lost loved ones to distracted driving are also left in limbo, wondering whether we are really serious about preventing future tragedies.... We cannot afford to wait any longer. July 31st should be the deadline for final action."