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Massachusetts: Hands-free legislation moving forward

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Woman driving car and texting message on smartphone, using mobile phone device while driving, dangerous and risky behavior in traffic

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has approved legislation that would bar motorists from using hand-held cellphones while behind the wheel.

The proposal approved on a 155-2 vote Wednesday would also require the state to study the feasibility of collecting racial data during all traffic stops to guard against racial profiling by police.

Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo described the bill as an important public safety measure that would help reduce deaths and injuries caused by distracted driving.

Motorists could still use their cellphones with hands-free technology, but would face fines of up to $500 if pulled over for holding a cellphone.

Concerns have been raised that a cellphone law could lead to more racial profiling by police in traffic stops.

The Senate is expected to debate a similar bill next month. 

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