State Senator Mark Montigny of New Bedford urged the Joint Committee on Transportation to favorably release his legislation to reduce distracted driving by prohibiting the use of handheld electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle. The measure also provides an affirmative defense for any violator who can demonstrate that they used their device in certain emergency situations. These measures would provide law enforcement with the necessary tools to keep roadways safe.

Senator Montigny has been a longtime leader in legislative efforts to prohibit the use of mobile telephones and devices while driving. Over 10 years ago, he filed one of the first bills in the country. According to the National Safety Council, motor vehicle crashes claimed well over 30,000 lives in the United States in 2013. Distracted driving, including cell phone use, accounts for 26 percent of those fatalities. In order to reduce the number of dangerous accidents on Massachusetts roadways, Senator Montigny's bill will prohibit the use of handheld cell phones and mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.

"Prohibiting the use of handheld devices will remove a major impediment to law enforcement charged with enforcing the current texting ban. As a vocal critic of the significant weaknesses in current law, I look forward to working toward the successful passage of this important piece of legislation so that we may significantly reduce the number of horrific injuries and carnage caused by distracted drivers," Montigny said.

--Senator Montigny's Office