The Massachusetts House of Representatives recently passed legislation banning automobile drivers from talking on cell phones or sending/reading text messages while driving. Fines will be $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second and $500 for the third and beyond. Hands-free handset calls are exempt as are emergency calls.
Insurance companies may also benefit directly from the new legislation as they can begin charging an additional premium surcharge to ticketed offenders on July 1, 2009.
Opponents of the legislation argued it is unfair to restrict the use of such technology while continuing to allow drivers to smoke cigarettes, eat food, read maps and apply makeup while behind the wheel.