The Massachusetts State Senate voted unanimously yesterday to ban the use of handheld cell phones while driving. The House voted to support the ban 155-2 on May 15.

New Bedford resident and State Senator Mark Montigny's Hands-Free, Distracted Driving bill will soon become law despite the decision by the dominant majority (around 73 percent) of Massachusetts voters who shoved the idea away in a non-binding ballot question about a decade ago. Governor Baker is expected to sign almost any bill with this restriction.

We know the state legislators like to give themselves frequent raises even though virtually every municipality is upside down with unfunded liabilities. Even though the increasingly crappy roads we pay for cause us to slip out a sudden f-bomb more frequently these days. Even though we are encouraging illegal immigrants to come to Massachusetts and enjoy access to the taxpayer's money.

We know DUI arrests and money for those fines are down dramatically as a result of the rise of Uber and Lyft and other private ride entities. That significant hit on this utter cash cow of an industry for the state coffers is causing a quiet panic for the "tax, fee and fine" Democrats like Senator Montigny.

Technically, the Senate bill is called "Hands-Free, Distracted Driving." I would encourage my readers to employ passengers to document, with video, any and all of the Massachusetts legislators who are on the road, using cell phones, eating food, sipping coffee or doing anything but looking straight ahead, and then submit them to me so I can make a compilation which I will make sure goes on national television.

Because if a police officer sees you doing anything else, from now on, you will be nailed for it. If you support this bill, hopefully it will be you first.

I completely agree with banning texting while driving, which would include internet surfing, etc. It is reckless and dangerous. As a driver with well over 800,000 miles since 1996, not once did speaking on my handheld cell phone endanger anyone.

This is a smash n' grab by the politicians and nothing more. Most hands-free equipment sounds like crap and most would agree that they've had to, at some time, pick up their handheld to stop the complaining party on the other end to better hear what they are saying.

I have watched a driver of a pickup truck slam into a guard rail on Route 140 north over a pickle falling on to his tie while eating a quarter pounder with cheese. I've seen people swerve as they quickly reach for a napkin to soak up some coffee that spilled onto their clothes.

I have seen zero evidence that speaking to someone on the phone is any more distracting than speaking to someone in the same vehicle.

More than half of the reasons people give to police or insurance carriers when they crash or are pulled over for swerving or failing to stay in their lane are lies. I know this because I am an insurance investigator.

Those of you applauding are likely going to have within your ranks people who will one day curse this predatory and unnecessary measure. The rest are just pom-pom shakers or have bought into the idea that speaking on a phone is as bad as drinking alcohol, doing drugs or texting while driving. Leave your emotions at home. There is no challenged evidence to corroborate.

Yeah, I'm pissed. You should be and will likely soon be, too.

How about enforcing laws like when the state senator influences the hiring of his girlfriend for a job she was woefully inadequate to work, and the only thing on her resumé showing credentials for the probation officer's job was that she was his girlfriend?

I'm not sure what he promised Governor Deval Patrick, but a call was allegedly made to the White House and the U.S. Attorney's office inexplicably stopped all further investigations into Senators Montigny and Marc Pacheco. It was a crazy story.

They took a dive four feet in front of the finish line. In fact, Montigny was quoted by a reliable source to say, "All I know is I have nothing to worry about."

The arrogance! The contempt for the law when it comes to them is vindicated by you, the Massachusetts voter.

Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @RadioKenPittman. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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