Wayne Texeira Marketing Director, CFMP, AINS, AIS, API
New Hampshire is the latest state to establish a no use of hand-held electronic devices law effective July 1, 2015.
What does this mean?
- No use of hand-held electronic devices capable of providing voice or data communication while driving or temporarily halted in traffic for a stop sign or traffic signal or other momentary delays
- This includes cell phones, GPS, tablets, iPods, iPads or other devices that require data entry
- Emergency calls to 911 or other public safety agencies will be allowed
- Bluetooth or other hands-free electronic devices will be allowed
- One hand non-cellular 2-way radio use will be allowed
- Teen drivers under the age of 18 will not be allowed to use any electronic devices (hand-held or not) except to report an emergency. Anyone violating this will be subject to penalties and license suspension or revocation.
- If your vehicle is not equipped with Bluetooth functionality, auto service centers can install after-market systems or over the ear devices can be purchased at retailers such as Staples, Best Buy or your cell phone carrier.
Penalties for Violations
The penalties are $100 fine for the first offense, $250 fine for a 2nd offense and $500 for a 3rd offense within 2 years. Additional penalty assessements will be added to the fines.
Cell Phone Laws in other states
If you’re going to drive in another state, be sure you know the cell phone driving laws that apply. You can find more information about specific state requirements online. One resource is the Governors Highway Safety Association. http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html
- 14 states, Washington D.C, Puerto Rico,Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibit all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.
- 38 states and Washington D.C. ban all cell phone use by novice drivers
- 46 states, Washington D.C. Puerto Rico,Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands ban text messaging for all drivers
In Massachusetts, except for new drivers and public transportation drivers, use of hand-held cell phones is allowed while driving. However, all drivers are prohibited from texting. Maine is similar to Massachusetts except that there is no complete ban of cell phone use for public transportation drivers. In Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont all have hand-held device bans. Maine and Rhode Island have bans on texting, but use of a hand-held cell phone is still allowed.
Consider curbing your use even if it’s not the law…yet.
Even though use of hands-free devices is still allowed in all states for experienced drivers, there are still risks. Keep in mind that “hands-free” is not “risk-free”. According to the National Safety Council, an estimated 1 in 4 car crashes involves cell phone use.
And, even if a hand-held ban doesn’t yet exist in your state (or where you’re driving), it’s worth thinking about why these laws exist. It seems to be human nature to take chances and sometimes hold on to an “it won’t happen to me” mentality. It can and does happen to people like you every day, who took a chance. Perhaps these stats will change your perception:
- Dialing a phone number increases the risk of a crash by 3 times
- A driver is 23 times more likely to crash while texting
- Sending or receiving a text distracts a driver for 5 seconds…at 50 mph that’s like driving the length of a football field blindfolded
- Drivers in their 20s make up 27% of distracted drivers in fatal crashes
Please be safe on the road…your life and the lives of other drivers depend on your safe driving.