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Mass. Senate Unanimously Approves Hands-Free, Distracted Driving Bill

A motorist talks on a cellphone while driving on a highway in Chicago in 2013. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)
A motorist talks on a cellphone while driving on a highway in Chicago in 2013. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

For the third session in a row, the Massachusetts Senate approved legislation requiring hands-free use of all mobile devices while driving. This time, however, the House and Gov. Charlie Baker appear to be on board, too.

Senators voted 40-0 during a Thursday session to endorse the bill (S 2216), which bans the use of electronic devices behind the wheel save for a single tap or swipe to enable a hands-free mode.

The legislation also requires law enforcement to collect racial and ethnic data on all traffic stops as a way to track for profiling or biased application of the new restrictions.

Last month, the House voted 155-2 to pass a similar bill, although that version only requires data collection in cases in which a citation is issued.

Baker this year included the hands-free language in his broader road safety bill.

"It's pretty clear that distracted driving and some tragedies and some near misses on construction sites are indicators that it's probably time to simply stop debating some of these common sense initiatives and just get them done," Baker said earlier this year.

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