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Should Marblehead Go Hands-Free?

Town Meeting Warrant item calls for making talking while driving a finable offense.

The 2012 Town Meeting Warrant is now available on the town's website. Instead of waiting for the vote in May, we want to know how our readers feel about an article that would make talking on a cell phone while driving an infraction punishable by a $50 fine.

If passed, Article 38, sponsored by Jonathan D. Magee, would translate to a $50 fine for a first offense, a $100 fine for all subsequent infractions and doubled fines for offenses that occur in school zones.

The law wouldn't apply to emergency personnel, signs would have to be posted on roadways leading into Marblehead and out-of-towners would be given a warning for a first offense.

Article 38:

  • A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking and is used in that manner while driving.
  • A violation of this law is an infraction punishable by a base fine of $50 for a first offense and $100 for each subsequent offense. The fine shall be doubled if the violation occurs in a school zone.
  • The law does not apply to a person using a wireless telephone for emergency purposes, including but not limited to, an emergency call to a law enforcement agency, healthy care provider, or other emergency services agency or entity. 
  • This law does not apply to an emergency services professional using a wireless telephone while operating an authorized emergency vehicle in the course and scope of his or her duties.
  • The law does not apply to a person while riving a motor vehicle on private property.
  • Signs announcing the law will be clearly placed on all streets that are entryways to Marblehead.
  • Drivers from out of town will receive a warning ticket for their first offense but will be responsible to the law for any subsequent violations.
  • This law shall become operative on July 1, 2012.

So, how do you feel about this law? Would it make our roads safer? Do you think it would be too difficult to enforce? Let us know by voting in the poll below or share your thoughts in the comments section.

Helene Palmer March 01, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Please pass this! As a cyclist in Marblehead I have had many near misses thanks to cell phones.
Jim Byrne March 01, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Absolutely! At the very least we should be hands free in school zones and on school property.
Sharon Thibodeau March 01, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Yes, definitely. Narrow streets, larger vehicles, many pedestrians (this used to be a "walking town"), this is a no-brainer and should be passed overwhelmingly!
John Buba March 02, 2012 at 05:51 PM
This is nuts. It is already against the law to drive distracted. How many laws for the same thing do we need? You can be distracted in a car by changing the radio station, eating a hamburger, drinking/spilling hot coffee, dropping a lit cigarette, putting on makeup, and on and on. Let’s write a separate law for each of these too. What you really want is enforcement of the laws that already exist. Writing more laws will not help.

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