Massachusetts' "Hands-free electronic device driving regulation" took effect on February 23, 2020. These new regulations are designed to reduce distracted driving and make the road safer for all.
Here’s what you need to know.
- The new law introduces a series of fines for violating the hands-free law by licensed drivers age 18 and up. 1st offense is a $100 fine, 2nd offense is a $250 fine plus a mandatory distracted driving education program, and 3rd offense is a $500 fine plus an insurance surcharge and completion of the distracted driving education program.
- No operator of a motor vehicle shall hold a mobile electronic device while operating a vehicle. If you are going to use your phone, it should be in hands-free mode and should be mounted to the windshield, dashboard or center console if used for GPS navigation.
- You cannot use your device in handheld mode at a red light or stop sign; however you can use it in handheld mode if not in a public travel lane and the vehicle is stationary. Examples would be pulled off to the side of the road or parked in a parking space.
- Drivers should not touch their mobile phones except to activate hands-free mode when the phone is in the proper mount. Thankfully, newer mobile phones and cars automatically activate hands-free or driving mode when the device pairs with your car’s Bluetooth or wireless system.
- Voice-to-text and phone use is allowed using hands-free mode when the device is properly mounted. If your car includes voice control of your phone through its entertainment system, this is permitted as well. Use of one headphone is allowed.
- Use of mobile phones for GPS navigation is permitted as long as the phone is properly mounted to the windshield, dashboard or center console.
- Mobile phone use is allowed in any mode in response to an emergency.
- Mobile phone use by drivers under 18 is illegal
Use common sense when accessing your phone during a drive. If your car has built-in Bluetooth or voice controls; use them.