Mass. Texting Ban One Part of Bigger Bill

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Massachusetts school bus drivers may soon become part of a growing trend of drivers who are banned from texting while driving their vehicle.

A multi-function bill proposed by State Rep. Pam Richardson would not only ban school bus drivers from texting while driving, it would require vision testing for all drivers over the age of 75 and ban drivers under the age of 18 from using a cell phone in any way while behind the wheel. Although supportive of the ban, the Massachusetts Professional School Transportation Association (MAPSTA) wants the state legislature to understand that cell phones are a useful tool for school bus drivers.

“Cell phones are an important communication device but should not be used when the vehicle is in motion,” said Chip Johnson, vice president of MAPSTA and director of business development for First Student’s Stafford Springs, Mass., branch. “A texting ban should apply to everyone, regardless of what they’re driving and how old they are. But, we don’t want to see a blanket prohibition on cell phones on school buses.”

Johnson went on to explain that the association would agree to a law that would allow drivers to pull over before using their cell phones.

“There’s just too many places where radios don’t work,” he added.