Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed a new anti-distraction law that bans texting while driving and sets strict penalties for the practice. Massachusetts is the 29th state to ban texting behind the wheel.
The new Massachusetts bill will fine adults $100 for texting as a first offense, $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third. Drivers younger than 18, if caught texting or using a cell phone while driving, will receive a $100 fine in addition to a 60-day license suspension.
According to the latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in distracted driving crashes nationwide. The highest proportion of those crashes involved teen drivers, and a total of 659 teens were killed in distracted driving-related crashes.