It’s official,… Massachusetts has passed a hands-free driving law that limits handheld phone use while driving. To avoid stiff penalties, it is important to understand the details of this law and to comply. Whether you live in Massachusetts or simply drive through it, here’s what you need to know about the Massachusetts hands-free driving law.
Restrictions Under the Massachusetts Hands-Free Driving Law
Texting and driving was already outlawed in Massachusetts, but using phones to make calls was still previously allowed. Under this new law, you can still make phone calls, but you cannot physically hold the phone in your hand while doing so. You must use it hands-free by either connecting a headset, activating the speaker, or connecting to your vehicle’s bluetooth. This applies whether your car is moving or at a stop light.
Penalties for Violations
The penalties for handheld cell phone usage are pretty high. It’s $100 for the first offense, $250 for the 2nd offense, and $500 for the third. Clearly, the state is really trying to enforce this law and deter violations. The law also requires repeat offenders to take a safety course.
The Massachusetts Hands-Free Driving Law goes into effect on February 23, 2020. To help educate drivers on this new law, there is a grace period through March 31st where only warnings will be issued. Starting April 1, 2020, full tickets will be given to anyone who breaks this law.
The Need for This Law
This law has been in the works for quite some time now. In the past, Governor Baker was hesitant to sign proposed bills for hands-free driving because it might disadvantage lower income drivers who are unable to afford blue tooth devices. However, the statistics behind the number of accidents related to phone usage is a major factor in pushing this law through. According to the NHTSA, the number of car crashes related to distracted driving has increased every year. This law will hopefully reduce accidents and keep us all safer on the roads.