Massachusetts’ new distracted driving law goes into effect in one month

Massachusetts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A reminder to all Massachusetts drivers: the new hands-free cell phone law will be going into effect in exactly one month. 

Beginning February 23, you will only be able to use your phone in hands-free mode while driving, even if you are stopped a red light or a stop sign your phone must be completely out of your hand.  

You will be allowed “one-touch” to activate your phone’s hands-free mode but the device must be properly mounted to the windshield, dashboard, or center console in a way that does not affect your driving. 

Voice to text or call is allowed but again, the phone cannot be in your hand using those features. The goal of the new law is to stop distracted driving. 

“I see a lot of people staring at their phones, having them in their hands, texting, swerving,” said John Carroll of Chicopee. “A lot of the times you can tell if they’re on their phone if they are in front of you just by the fact they slow down. So, people do get distracted very easily.” 

Breaking the hands-free law comes with a hefty price to pay, both out of pocket and in consequences you’ll face.  

A first offense means a $100 fine, second offense, a $250 fine plus a mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program.  That fine doubles to $500 for a third and subsequent offenses, plus an insurance surcharge and mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program. 

“I definitely wouldn’t want a $500 ticket so hopefully it will do something good,” said Abigail Rivera of Springfield. 

Officers will be able to issue warnings from February 23 to March 31. Tickets will start being issued beginning April 1 and the law will apply to both drivers and bicyclists. 

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