Massachusetts Distracted Driving Legislation Stalled

MA StatehouseWBZ/ CBS Boston reported House and Senate Democrats “failed to reach a compromise on long-discussed distracted driving legislation after a marathon session Wednesday [July 31, 2019], abandoning the issue about four hours after Senate President Karen Spilka said a resolution appeared imminent.”

In its current form, the legislation–also known as the “handheld cellphone ban”–would exempt “federally-licensed 2-way radios” allowing for the unimpeded use of amateur radios in vehicles.

[See also: Massachusetts Hands-free Mobile Device Legislation Update]

Both branches held sessions open from Wednesday afternoon until after 12 a.m. Thursday in what was expected to be the last day before a traditional August recess.

[Full story]

ARRL Leadership Talk at Billerica ARS Meeting, March 6, 2019

Billerica ARS logoThe Billerica Amateur Radio Society will feature presentations by Eastern Massachusetts ARRL Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW, and ARRL New England Vice Director, Mike Reisbeck, K1TWF, at its monthly meeting in Chelmsford on March 6, 2019 at 7 PM. Mike will discuss the ARRL Board of Directors meeting; Tom will describe the proposed hands-free cell bill now in the Massachusetts Legislature. Additional information and directions can be found on the club’s web site.

[This talk was rescheduled to March when a dangerous ice storm forced cancellation of the original February meeting.]

Proposed MA Legislation Seeks to Require “Hands-free” Cell Phone Use While Driving


MA State HouseMassachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday “proposed his most sweeping set of road safety rules yet, calling for Massachusetts to join 16 other states in requiring hands-free cell phone use while driving and proposing to allow police to stop motorists for not wearing a seat belt,” according to Boston’s PBS station, WGBH.

Various pieces of “hands-free” cell phone legislation have been introduced in recent years by members of the State House and Senate and while some have included clear exemptions for Amateur Radio operators, others have been vague or non-existent on the matter.

State Government Liaison Hank McCarl, W4RIG, quickly alerted ARRL section and division leadership about the proposed legislation. 

McCarl reports he has already spoken with his State Senator’s office legislative assistant about the ARRL’s concerns regarding the wording of proposed legislation on hand held cell phones while driving. They “will keep a close eye on the wording of that legislation and let us know if there seems to be any problems for our mobile operations as licensed amateurs in community service or training,” McCarl said.

ARRL Headquarters Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1NC was also notified of the proposed legislation by Section Manager Tom Walsh, K1TW.

The full story about Baker’s proposed hands-free cell phone and other road safety rules can be found at <>.

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