The Massachusetts Senate approved an amendment banning all Internet use while driving as part of its version of the state’s upcoming budget.
Drivers would be banned from sending text messages, e-mailing or reading the Internet while behind the wheel under the terms of the budget approved late Thursday night.
Senators stopped short of requiring handsfree devices for talking on a cell phone.
Bus, train, trolley and other public transit drivers would be banned from even holding a cell phone while driving. They could only carry one for emergency purposes.
Drivers would face a $75 fine and an insurance surcharge for violations. Transit drivers would face a $500 fine.
“We have a whole generation of drivers who think it’s OK to text while driving. This is designed to send a message that it’s not,” said Sen. Steven Baddour, D-Methuen, co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation and a co-sponsor of the amendment.
The amendment passed a day after an 18-year-old Central Catholic senior from Methuen was killed in a single-car accident as she drove to her high school for pre-graduation festivities. Police are investigating whether Rebecca Solomon was texting at the time.
The move also follows an MBTA Green Line accident in which a driver crashed his trolley into another, allegedly while sending a text message to his girlfriend.
The $27.35 billion budget now moves to a House-Senate conference committee.
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