New Massachusetts Laws on Cell Phones and Driving

New Massachusetts Laws on Cell Phones and Driving

Since cell phones came onto the scene, public service campaigns have warned of the dangers cell phones and driving pose to you and other drivers.

We’re sure you also know that current New England laws make it illegal to use a cell phone while driving. However, do you know the extent of the latest Hands-Free Law and what it means for cell phones and driving?

Though the following may seem strict, remember, cell phones and driving have never been a good mix. Did you know as of September 2022, Mass DOT reported 815 crashes were caused by drivers manually operating an electronic device? The same report showed that 77 additional crashes occurred because someone was talking on a hand-held electronic device. 

As of February 2020, Massachusetts strengthened its distracted driving laws by introducing the Hands-Free Law. You can read the full description of the law here, but the main highlights are:

  • For drivers under 18
    • You cannot use any electronic devices, not even if the devices are in hands-free mode while driving.
  • For drivers over 18
    • You cannot hold any electronic device or phone while driving.
    • You can only touch your phone to activate hands-free mode on your device.
    • You may hold your phone behind the wheel ONLY if the car is stationary and not in travel or a bicycle lane.
      • Translation: Riding your bike while using your phone is illegal.
    • Holding your phone is illegal at red lights and stop signs.
    • While driving, you cannot touch your device to send a text or email, check an app, watch a video, or scroll the internet.
    • Using GPS navigation is allowed, but only if your GPS is installed in your vehicle or is properly mounted.
    • If you’re planning to use speech-to-text, you may only do so if the device is properly mounted.
      • Note: if you require an earbud for speech-to-text, you may use only one earbud.

It should be noted that it’s legal for drivers to use their cell phones during an emergency to call 911. However, if possible, please pull over and come to a complete stop before calling.

The first offense for violating these laws is a $100 fine. The second offense is a $250 fine and mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program. Any following offenses instantly result in a $500 fine, an increase in your insurance, and another mandatory round of distracted driving education.

Yes, you will have to continuously complete those distracted driving programs for every violation after your first offense. How much time and money are you willing to lose for the sake of holding a cell phone and driving?

Again, the law may seem strict, but it’s in place to protect your well-being and everyone else on the road. We at Northeast-MetroWest Insurance want everyone who steps into their cars to reach their destinations and return home safely.

Please drive and operate your vehicle(s) responsibly for your safety and the safety of others.

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