Hands-free driving law goes into effect this month. Here’s everything Mass. residents need to know

BOSTON (WHDH) - Beginning later this month, drivers and bicyclists across Massachusetts will be forbidden from using any electronic device unless it’s in hands-free mode.

Massachusetts’ new hands-free driving law takes effect on Feb. 23, 2020, and police departments across the state will be out in full force to ensure residents are adhering to it.

Drivers who are over the age of 18 will be allowed to use their mobile devices in a limited capacity. The new rules are as follows, according to the Quincy Police Department:

  • 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 under the age of 18 will not be allowed to use any electronic device. All phone use while driving is illegal, including the use of hands-free mode.

Those who violate the law will subject to fines and penalties. First-time violators will be slapped with a $100 fine. Second-time offenders will be forced to pay a $250 fine and complete a mandatory distracted driving educational program. Third and subsequent offenses will be punishable by a $500 fine, plus an insurance surcharge and the mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program.

Drivers and bicyclists can use their phone to call 911 to report an emergency.

 

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