Mass. Senate proposes ban on text messaging while driving

Would also require senior drivers to pass physical and cognitive tests.

A proposal by the Massachusetts Senate may make roads safer by banning text messaging while driving and requiring elderly drivers to pass cognitive and physical tests to renew their driver's licenses.

According to a report by the Boston Globe, violators would be fined $100 for their first offense and larger amounts for subsequent offenses. Law enforcement officials would only be able to fine individuals who had previous driving violations. Drivers age 75 and older would be tested every three years and charged no more than $30 to renew their licenses.

Some advocates have called the bill, which also prohibits teenagers from talking on cellphones while driving, a form of age discrimination.

"Legislation that imposes tests that don't exist will do nothing to make the roads safer," Deborah Banda, state director of AARP Massachusetts, told the Globe. "There isn't a reliable, validated cognitive test available to be used for screening purposes."

While drivers age 55 and older often qualify for auto insurance discounts because they are known to be less aggressive then younger drivers, they may also be refused insurance renewal if they are determined to be incapable of driving safely, according to the Insurance Information Institute.ADNFCR-2378-ID-19640828-ADNFCR

Posted: February 26, 2010

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