Hands-free while driving law in Massachusetts marks one year

Massachusetts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP/Mass.gov) – Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of the Massachusetts hands-free while driving law.

The law prohibits drivers from using any electronic device in their vehicles, unless said device is in a “hands-free mode”.

To commemorate one year, the Safe Roads Alliance emphasized how dangerous distracted driving is, and warned of the fees that come from breaking the law.

Penalty for violating the hands-free law:

  • 1st offense – $100 fine.
  • 2nd offense – $250 fine, plus mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program.
  • 3rd and subsequent offenses – $500 fine, plus insurance surcharge and mandatory completion of distracted driving educational program.

What does this mean for me?

Drivers who are 18 and over

  • Can only use electronic devices and mobile phones in hands-free mode and are only permitted to touch devices to activate hands-free mode.
  • Not permitted to hold or support any electronic device/phone.
  • Cannot touch phone except to activate the hands-free mode and can only enable when the device is installed or properly mounted to the windshield, dashboard, or center console in a manner that does not impede the operation of the motor vehicle.
  • Not allowed to touch device for texting, emailing, apps, video, or internet use.
  • Activation of GPS navigation is permitted when the device is installed or properly mounted.
  • Handheld use is allowed only if the vehicle is both stationary and not located in a public travel lane or a bicycle lane, but is not allowed at red lights or stop signs.
  • Voice to text and communication to electronic devices is legal only when device is properly mounted; use of headphone (one ear) is permitted.

Drivers who are under 18

  • Are not allowed to use any electronic devices. All phone use while driving is illegal, including use in hands-free mode.

Operators may use a cell phone to call 911 to report an emergency. If possible, safely pull over and stop before calling 911.

In 2020, almost 30,000 citations were issued to drivers violating the law.

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