Rock Talk

Keeping You Safe: What YOU Should Know About the New Massachusetts Hands-Free Driving Law

Last updated on March 3, 2020 at 10:59 am

Did you know that effective February 23, 2020, Massachusetts drivers are prohibited from holding a cell phone or other hand-held mobile devices while operating a vehicle?

Under the new law aptly named, An Act requiring the hands-free use of mobile telephones while driving, it is essentially illegal for all drivers and motorcyclists to use their mobile phones or other electronic devices while driving, unless the technology is used in the hands-free mode.

What MA Drivers Can Do:

  • You can operate an electronic device if you are stationary, and not in an active travel or bike lane
  • You can use a device while driving, but only if it is in hands-free mode
  • You can use the device to help with navigation if it is appropriately mounted
  • You can make phone calls if you are able to do so without holding the phone, utilizing mobile technology
  • You can use a device in an emergency
  • You can use hands-free technology such as Bluetooth, and you can “single tap” or “swipe” your device to activate or deactivate the hands-free mode

Violation Rules & What Will Happen:

  • A first offense carries a $100 fine. Until March 31, 2020, police will only issue warnings for a first offense unless that offense involves reading or typing an electronic message,
  • A second violation carries a $250 fine, and a third or subsequent offense carries a $500 fine
  • A third or subsequent offense will count as a surchargeable incident on a driver’s insurance
  • Drivers who commit multiple offenses are required to complete an educational program focused on distracted driving prevention.

Junior Operators

Existing Massachusetts state law prohibits so-called “junior operators,” or drivers between the ages of 16½ and 18, from using an electronic device while driving except to report an emergency. A junior driver caught talking on a phone or using an electronic device while driving will be subject not only to fines but to loss of license ranging from 60 days to a year, depending on the number of offenses.

With the new law, Massachusetts becomes the 21st state to adopt a hands-free law as a way to prevent distracted driving.

Bottom line: Plymouth Rock wants you to be safe. So please put the phone down while driving or risk collecting fines and other penalties. 

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