Massachusetts Legislators Reach Agreement on Hands-Free Driving Bill

Lawmakers in Massachusetts made a surprise agreement Friday night on a hands-free driving bill.

The deal is being praised by families who have lost loved ones to distracted driving.

The agreement by the House and Senate will restrict the use of handheld devices while driving.

Lawmakers have debated for years on passing a bill that requires operators not to have mobile devices in their hands while driving.

What held the bill up for most of that time is the issue of racial profiling. Legislators battled over how to collect racial data and whether to share it with the public.

Even with the compromise, leaders have not revealed exactly how racial data will be shared.

Parents like Richard Levitan, whose 18-year-old daughter was hit and killed by a distracted driver in 2013 during a cross country cycling trip, are happy with the decision.

"Our family is forever grateful for the collective work of the Massachusetts legislature and conference committee by passing a bill that will ultimately save lives throughout the commonwealth," the Levitan family said in a statement. "A humble and significant moment, tonight we celebrate our daughter, Merritt."

Massachusetts is the last state in New England to pass a hands free driving bill. The bill is expected to be finalized next week.

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