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You can no longer hold a cellphone and drive in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has become the latest state to ban talking on a hand-held cellphone while behind the wheel. A new law went into action on June 1, 2018, outlawing the activity.

People have known for a long time that texting and driving was dangerous, but research has shown that just holding your phone to talk is also distracting and leads to accidents, injuries and fatalities. Officials hope to see those numbers drop now that people cannot make or take calls.

This is not the first time such a law has been proposed. Rhode Island was almost at the front of the movement back in 2001, when a similar law got proposed and made it all the way to the governor. However, that governor quickly vetoed the law and nothing was done until now.

That does raise questions about how many accidents happened because of distracted drivers talking on their phones in the last 17 years.

This new law does not mean drivers cannot use their phones at all. If they have a hands-free system, they can use that. For instance, many vehicles made in the past five years have Bluetooth connectivity, and someone can simply link a phone and then use the car's own speakers to make calls, all without holding the device itself. Many steering wheels even have buttons so that drivers can access these systems without ever taking their hands off of the wheel.

If you get hit by a distracted driver who decides to break this new law, make sure that you know all of the legal options you have to seek out financial compensation.

Source: The East Greenwich Pendulum, "Rhode Island implements ‘hands-free’ driving law," Kendra Gravelle, June 02, 2018

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