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Massachusetts Hands-Free Cellphone Law is Now in Effect

Massachusetts Hands-Free Cellphone Law is Now in Effect

The state of Massachusetts enacted a “hands-free” law that makes it illegal for people to use their cellphones while driving.

The legislation — which took effect on Sunday, February 23, 2020 — prohibits all handheld phone use behind the wheel of vehicles. This includes picking up a cellphone at stop signs, red lights, or in traffic, and for any reason. If drivers need to make calls, send texts, or use a navigation app, they can do so with hands-free technology such as voice activation and Bluetooth. Drivers who are seen holding their phones will face a warning, along with information about the new legislation from police, until the end of March. Once this probationary period is over, those seen using a cellphone while driving could face a $100 fine for a first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense, and a $500 fine for a third or subsequent offense. Second- and third-time offenders will also be required to attend a course on distracted driving.

The new regulations amend the state’s previous attempt to legislate distracted driving that was enacted in 2010. That law outlawed texting while driving and using the internet while driving but did not explicitly prohibit the use of handheld devices, like the new law. The 2010 legislation was also not as widely enforced as the hands-free law is expected to be.

In a news conference, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said that the state “consistently rates among the 10 worst states in the country for distracted driving,“ as reported in The Boston Globe. The new law aims to address this issue and make Massachusetts roads safer for everyone.

Morgan & Murphy, LLP practices personal injury and workers’ compensation law. Contact us to discuss the details of your case.

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