Massachusetts Enacts Hands-Free Driving Law This February
After almost two decades of public debate, Massachusetts is finally establishing a hands-free driving law. Here’s what you should know about the new legislation as well as when it will go into effect.
New Horizons: Strategies to stay on track with your 2020 goals
The new law
The Massachusetts law is similar to other hands-free driving laws that other states have adopted. The goal is to curb distracted driving by making smartphone use while driving a direct offense.
Per WCBV News, the new law bans drivers from holding a “mobile electronic device.” It also prohibits drivers from using these devices unless they are set to hands-free mode.
And, in case anyone has any doubts about what constitutes distracted driving behaviors, the law also explicitly forbids “reading or viewing text, images, or video” — unless the device is mounted to a secure phone holder on the center console, dashboard, or windshield.
Like with any law, this one has its caveats. You can still use electronics if you need to contact emergency services to respond to a crisis. And you can also still use your phone per usual if you’re in a parked vehicle.
Safe Travels: Learn about the Silverado’s protective features
When it goes into effect
Per WCBV News, the new law will go into effect Feb. 23. Police officers will give offenders warnings through March 31, as everyone gets used to the new legislation. After this date, however, they’ll start writing tickets. It will be $100 for a first offense and $250 for a second one, then increase to $500 for any repeat offenses after that.
If you live in Massachusetts and already make a habit to turn off your smartphone while driving (or at least, set it to “do not disturb” mode), then you should have nothing to fear about the new law. Though, if you’re still trying to ditch distracted driving habits to the curb, review these tips here. Or download one of these apps that blocks notifications when it senses that your car is in motion.
Whitney Russell is a current resident of Dayton, though her spirit can be found beach-bumming on Puerto Rico (the land of her half-Puerto Rican heritage). When not adventuring through the exciting world of car news, she can be found hiking with her husband and their two dogs, motorcycling, visiting her cute nephews and nieces, discovering new memes, reorganizing and/or decorating some corner of the world, researching random things, and escaping into a great movie, poem, or short story. See more articles by Whitney.