Massachusetts’ Hands-Free Law went into effect on February 23, 2020, and carries some pretty hefty penalties. Under this law, Massachusetts now prohibits operators of motor vehicles from using any electronic device, including mobile telephones, unless the device is used in hands-free mode. Increasing enforcement of this Massachusetts’ Hands-Free Law has some drivers wondering what exactly this entails. In this article, we’ll outline exactly what this law means and how it keeps our community safe.
Drivers who are under 18 are not allowed to use any electronic devices. According to the State guidelines, “all phone use while driving is illegal, including use in hands-free mode.”
Drivers who are over 18 are allowed to use electronic devices and mobile phones but only in hands-free mode, and are only allowed to touch their devices to activate that hands-free mode.
That said, may not hold or support any electronic device/phone under any circumstance, even to activate the hands-free feature. You can only touch the device if it 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.”
Additionally, you are not allowed to touch devices for texting, emailing, apps, video, or internet use, even when properly mounted. Cell phone use is limited to the activation of GPS navigation and some communication.
Massachusetts’ Hands-Free Law does outline a select number of exceptions. Handheld use is allowed only if the vehicle is both stationary and not located in a public travel lane or a bicycle lane, but is not allowed at red lights or stop signs. Voice to text and other verbal communication to electronic devices is legal only when your device is properly mounted. The use of headphones is also permitted but only in one ear.
The “hands-free” law also carries some pretty hefty penalties.
- The 1st offense is a $100 fine.
- The 2nd offense is a $250 fine, plus mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program.
- The 3rd and subsequent offenses carry a $500 fine, plus an insurance surcharge and the mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program.
Since 1988, our family-owned and operated service center has been providing top-quality auto repair services to Agawam, Feeding Hills, Southwick, West Springfield, and the surrounding Massachusetts communities. If your car needs maintenance or repair, call us at (413)314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.