BOSTON — The fight continues for State Senator Mark Montigny as he pushes for passage of his hands-free cell phone bill.

The bill, S2120, would ban handheld use of cell phones and other mobile devices while driving in Massachusetts. It's scheduled to be brought up in a legislative hearing on Beacon Hill on March 28.

"Distracted driving from unnecessary cell phone use is a major hazard for motorists and pedestrians leading to tragic injuries and loss of life," said Montigny in a press release.

Over 30,000 deaths resulted from motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2013, according to the National Safety Council. Of those accidents, 26% were blamed on distracted driving, including cell phone use. Massachusetts experienced a 13% increase in motor vehicle fatalities in 2016.

Montigny argues that giving law enforcement the proper tools to penalize drivers for using handheld electronic devices while behind the wheel will help to curb fatal motor vehicle crashes due to distracted driving.

"Hands free technology is readily accessible and affordable, and we must act now to save lives and help law enforcement increase roadway safety."

Montigny first filed similar legislation in 2003, with his bill passing the Senate during the legislative sessions in 2016 and 2017. However, the bill died in the House of Representatives both years. Another similar measure by the New Bedford Democrat was defeated by two votes in a 2010 debate on texting while driving.

Senator Montigny says his latest bill is cosponsored by a majority of the Senate, 27 Representatives, and has received support from the Safe Roads Alliance and its advocacy coalition.

"The only thing that has changed over the years is that people are engaging in more dangerous driving and more lives have been lost because of it.  There is no more excuse.  We must act now.”

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