News | Distracted Driving

Do hands-free laws make our roads safer?
July 13, 2017

Massachusetts is considering a hands-free cellphone law for drivers, but will it really stop people from driving while distracted?

Texting while driving is already against the law in Massachusetts, but a proposed bill that was recently approved by the state Senate is looking to take things further by requiring completely hands-free driving.

The Senate’s law would allow for bluetooth or other hands-free calls, but would ban social media use and bar drivers from manually typing addresses into their GPS apps (though they can still use the apps).

But is a hands-free law enough to make the roads safer? Hari Balakrishnan is an MIT professor and the co-founder of Cambridge Mobile Telematics (CMT), which built Drivewell, a program that offers rewards and incentives to make people better drivers. That technology was used in the Boston’s Safest Driver app the city debuted last year. He said the new bill is a good start, but alone, it may not be enough.

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