STARTING SUNDAY: New hands-free driving law begins in Massachusetts

Massachusetts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – “No texting and driving,” is a common phrase drivers have heard for years.

Now Massachusetts is taking more steps to fight the distracted driving problem.

The new Hands-free law prohibits drivers from touching their phone while driving even while at a red light or stop sign. Drivers are only allowed to make a single tap or swipe to activate a device’s hands-free mode, but some are still skeptical.

“I think it’s good but I don’t think it’s going to necessarily work. People are going to do what they want to do. They’re going to text anyways. I hope it works. It’s a health hazard, a life hazard,” Chicopee resident, Gloria Wright told 22News.

From now on if you want to use your phone you’ll have to do it hands-free and it will have to be mounted either on the dashboard or on a vent.

Fines for breaking the law start on April 1, for now, police will issue warnings. But once that’s over, police will start giving fines of $100 for a first violation, $250 for the second and $500 for every violation after.

“The first offense that’s great and then obviously if you’re continuing to do it you deserve a higher offense,” Northampton native, Brittany Lee told 22News.

Between 2014 and 2018, 233 Massachusetts residents died in crashes that involved a distracted driver, the new law aims to prevent that. Some people just want to go back to the old days.

“Just wait. You know before you would go home, pick up the phone, ‘hello.’ Why can’t you just wait,” said Chicopee resident, Nolonda Strom.

State Police plan to deploy additional patrol on roads, increasing the presence of law enforcement as the new distracted driving law starts. Drivers under 18 cannot use a phone in any capacity while driving, unless for calling 911.

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