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hands-free phone law

Law Barring Cellphone Use While Driving Takes Effect Sunday in Massachusetts

Under the law, violators will get a warning until April 1

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A law that bars drivers in Massachusetts from using hand-held cellphones behind the wheel takes effect Sunday.

While it's never easy to kick old habits, drivers in the Bay State will have no choice but to put down their phones while they're behind the wheel.

"It's going to take time for people to get used to it," said Alfredo Choque. "We got to obey the law."

"I can be driving and one second looking down at your phone can cause a major accident," Karen Conway said.

Jennifer Santa Fe added, "I have two little kids, and I don't need to be looking at my phone and getting into an accident."

The law signed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in November brings Massachusetts in line with every other New England state.

Texting while driving had already been outlawed, but now drivers cannot write, read or view text messages, and that includes at stoplights.

Drivers will not be allowed to talk on or dial their phones unless they have a hands-free device. And drivers under 18 can't use phones at all.

Cellphone use is allowed for GPS or to report an emergency.

Under the law, violators will get a warning until April 1.

After that, a first offense will mean a $100 fine, the second a $250 fine, and subsequent offenses a $500 penalty.

"They need to write tickets," Conway said. "They're out there to keep us safe."

NBC10 Boston and The Associated Press
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