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What is New Hampshire’s new hands free electronic device law?

There are many safety initiatives on our roads and highways today, all of which are designed to prevent or lessen the severity of motor vehicle accidents. This is an admirable goal that most folks support. A truth, however, is that people are still involved in car, truck and bus collisions on a regular basis. Even with improved safety elements, the bottom line is often found to be driver distraction caused the crash, and injured victims often seem to find ways to recover financially, physically and emotionally.

With this in mind, New Hampshire has enacted a new law that goes into effect on July 1, 2015. It's commonly referred to as the hands free electronic device law. Basically, the law makes it illegal for any driver to use a hand held electronic device that provides voice or data communication while driving. It also prohibits this use when a driver is stopped for a red light or at a stop sign and when paused for any other momentary delay such as road work, train crossings and the like.

Included devices are phones, navigation systems, tablets, and other instruments that need data entry to function. Studies show that while texting, a driver is 23 times more likely to crash. The distraction of sending or receiving a text averages about five seconds, long enough to travel the length of a football field at 50 mph. Dialing a phone number increases crash risk by three times.

Bluetooth or other hands-free equipment will be allowed. One hand, non-cellular 2-way radios can be used, and emergency 911 or other public safety calls can be made at any time. Drivers under 18 aren't allowed to use any type of electronic device at any time except for an emergency.

Fines for violations will increase with the number of driver offenses on record, beginning with $100 for a first offense. A second infraction carries a $250 fine, and a third offense within two years will cost $500. Any penalty assessments made are in addition to the fines.

Source: New Hampshire Transportation Management Center, "New NH “Hands Free” Law Takes Effect July 1, 2015," accessed May. 28, 2015

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