Sen. Mark Montigny's bill to ban the use of handheld cell phones is a welcomed development. The New Bedford Democrat is tuned into our evolving culture.

We are all safer if we are all paying attention to the road when we are driving. Nobody can see properly when they have an enormous smartphone held up to their face as they are driving. This isn't hard to understand, but it is hard to pass a law against it.

"It is bittersweet. There is no celebration," Montigny said. "We've worked for years with these families who have lost sons and daughters and fathers and mothers, and there's no excuse (it took 15 years to pass)."

"We've passed it over and over in the Senate, and the only thing that's changed since we passed the original texting ban is that more and more people have died. There are more distractions on the road. People are now involved in social media, and they're compiling their life story while they're driving a 3,000-pound killing machine," he said.

Years ago, this wasn't an issue because of the lack of technology. And maybe it wouldn't be an issue if we had some of that old fashioned common sense today. You can't drive with half your face covered up and while you are paying attention to a phone call.

We live in an advanced society. The days of passing legislation to create unemployment insurance, the state police, and public schools are in the past. Today, the job of a state senator is to mitigate the dangers of modern life and fix problems never seen before in society. Senator Montigny has embraced his role as a lawmaker in modern society. He isn't fighting the last battle as some do.

His work on animal cruelty and human trafficking may seem separate from the cell phone bill he has championed, but they are all tied together. Our culture has shifted.

People used to leave their animals at home. Or they had them in the back of a station wagon or a pickup truck. The dog was in the back of the car or truck with the kids. Long before the dog would die of heat exhaustion, a kid would be in the store demanding his mother get some popsicles for the ride home. Also, the keys were in the ignition of the car so the kids could listen to music. The days of windows down, music playing, and kids and dogs in the car are over.

So now some idiot takes his dog to the store and the dog's brain melts because the windows are up and the kids are home playing video games. Senator Montigny passed a bill to save dogs because the culture has shifted and he acts accordingly.

Hopefully, Governor Baker will sign the Montigny bill to prevent the same type of idiot who lets his dog die in a hellishly hot car from killing humans as he drives down the road half blind and totally focused on his foolish cell phone conversation.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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