The hands-free law that is set to take effect in NH on July 1st, 2015 will be a major change for many NH drivers who are used to using their cell phones while driving. To help inform the public about this new law, HPM Insurance is offering a free Bluetooth headset to the first 100 people who request a quote from the agency and mentions the HPM Bluetooth promotion.
The NH hands-free law will prohibit drivers from using any hand-held electronic devices capable of providing voice or data communication. This restriction will apply while driving as well as at a stop sign, traffic signal or other momentary delay.
The law applies not only to cell phones but also to tablets, gps devices or any other device that requires data entry.
The fines for breaking the hands free law will be the following during a two year span:
- 1st offense is $100 fine
- 2nd offense is $250 fine
- 3rd offense is $500 fine
Violating the hands free law will also result in an increase in what is paid in premiums for car insurance as many insurance companies will consider it a moving violation, similar to a speeding ticket. The duration of impact for an increased premium may vary by car insurance company as some auto carriers review a three year driving history, while others use five years.
For drivers younger than 18 years-old, it will be illegal for them to use any electronic device, whether hooked up to Bluetooth technology or not, unless reporting an emergency to 911 or other safety agency.
According to Bedford police lieutenant, Mike Bernard, during a recent education seminar regarding the hands-free law, this law was enacted as an effort to help decrease the number of accidents on New Hampshire roads. During the last four years, 116 fatal crashes were caused by distraction in NH alone. Distraction can range from a visual distraction that requires driver to look away from the road, to a manual distraction that requires the driver to take his or her hands from the steering wheel or a mental distraction that has the driver thinking hard about something other than driving. Using a cell phone can incorporate all three distractions.
Other important reasons for the law include:
- Drivers are 4 times more likely to crash if using a hand-held electronic device
- Drivers are 23 times more likely to crash if texting
- Sending or receiving a text distracts a driver for nearly 5 seconds. The same amount of time it takes for a vehicle traveling at 50 mph to travel the distance of a football field
- Nearly 11% of all fatal accidents involving distracted driving occurred to drivers younger than 20 years-old
According to a recent article in the Milford Cabinet local police departments, including Amherst and Milford, will be aggressive in enforcing this law with officers in undercover vehicles looking for drivers using hand-held devices. The police hope to cut down on the number of tragic accidents like the accident that took the life of retired Amherst Fire Chief John Bachman who was hit by a driver while texting and Katie Hamilton of Brookline who was killed on Christmas Eve in 2013 by a driver checking his GPS device.
HPM Insurance will be running the Bluetooth promotion while supplies last. This offer is NOT in connection with, or an inducement to buy insurance from HPM Insurance or its affiliates. To qualify for the free Bluetooth, an agent of HPM Insurance must be provided enough information to accurately quote an eligible risk. Receipt of a free Bluetooth will be limited to one per person; regardless of how many quotes provided. For more information about the promotion, please contact April at April@HPMinsurance.com. For a quote, please contact the HPM office at 603-673-1201.