News

Hands-Free Law is Effective as of February 23rd.

Consider Yourself Warned.

Back in November, Massachusetts Legislature votes to ban the use of handheld phones while driving.

From BPD News:

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 “hands-free” law is effective as of February 23, 2020.

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, 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.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and Caught in Dot and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.