As of February 23, 2020 hands-free driving is the law in Massachusetts!
The new law prohibits drivers of motor vehicles from using any electronic device, including mobile telephones, unless the device is used in hands-free mode. Distracted driving has sky-rocketed as an issue since the adoption of cellphones in everyday life and many states have instituted similar laws to curb the problem. In the United States, approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 injured each day in accidents that are reported to involve a distracted driver. Did you know it only takes 3 seconds to get into an accident after getting distracted?
The penalties 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 drivers 18 and over need to know:
- You can only use electronic devices and mobile phones in hands-free mode and are only permitted to touch devices to activate hands-free mode.
- You’re not permitted to hold or support any electronic device/phone.
- You cannot touch thephone 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.
- You’re not allowed to touch devices 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.
For more details please see Mass.gov.