The Massachusetts Hands-Free driving law goes into effect on Sunday, February 23, 2020.
The Massachusetts law prohibits operators of motor vehicles from using any electronic device, including mobile telephones, unless the device is used in hands-free mode. Police departments across the Commonwealth will be out in full-force in the coming days and weeks ensuring drivers adhere to the law.
Drivers who are over the age of 18 will be permitted to use their mobile devices in a limited capacity.
- Can only use electronic devices and mobile phones in hands-free mode and are only permitted to touch devices to activate hands-free mode.
- Not permitted to hold or support any electronic device/phone.
- Cannot touch phone except to activate the hands-free mode and can only enable when the device 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.
- Not allowed to touch device for texting, emailing, apps, video, or internet use.
- Activation of GPS navigation is permitted when the device is installed or properly mounted.
- 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 communication to electronic devices is legal only when device is properly mounted; use of headphone (one ear) is permitted.
Drivers who are under 18 are not allowed to use any electronic devices. For those under 18 years of age, any phone use while driving is illegal, including use in hands-free mode.
Penalties and fines for violating the hands-free law:
First-time violators will be slapped with a $100 fine.
Second-time offenders will be forced to pay a $250 fine and also complete a mandatory distracted driving program.
Third and subsequent offenses will be punishable by a $500 fine. Offenders will also be receive a surcharge on their insurance and have to complete the mandatory distracted driving educational program.
Operators may use a cell phone to call 911 to report an emergency. If possible, safely pull over and stop before calling 911.