February 4 2020

Hands-Free Driving Law Goes Into Effect on February 23

By: BNEWS

Later this month using a mobile device with your hands while driving will get a lot more costly if you’re spotted by police. 

The Massachusetts State Police put out a reminder on social media that the state’s Hands-Free While Driving Law goes into effect on February 23. 

“Massachusetts law prohibits operators of motor vehicles and bicycles from using any electronic device, including mobile telephones, unless the device is used in hands-free mode,” the State Police said. 

The penalties for violating the hands-free law get pretty expensive quickly for subsequent offenses. Under the law a first offense brings a $100 fine. A second offense brings a $250 fine and a mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program. If a driver has a third offense they will be hit with a $500 fine plus an insurance surcharge and another mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program. 

Whether or not a driver can use a mobile device at all while driving depends on whether they are over 18 years of age or not. Under the new law, however, even adult drivers face greater restrictions. 

 

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.

- Are 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.

- Are 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, 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.

Find out what you need to know, by going to www.Mass.Gov/HandsFree.

 

 
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