Massachusetts Hands-Free Driving Law
This law will be in effect starting February 23rd, 2020.
The Safe Driver law prohibits any driver under the age of 18 from operating a vehicle while using ANY electronic device. Even on "hands-free" mode.
Drivers over the age of 18:
Can use electronic devices in hands free mode ONLY (Siri...) and only allowed to touch devices to engage hands free mode.
You can NOT hold any electronic device while driving
Many states in the country and in the New England area have similar laws/ bans.
Texting or using a phone while driving encourages the driver to look away from the road, and this can cause the driver valuable time in reacting to changing road conditions such as a sudden stop, or someone running into the roadway. The implications on younger drivers allows them to focus more on the road, while they are still learning the rules and ways of it. This will prevent any unnecessary accidents such as a rear end.
According to the National Safety Council, in 2010 a MINIMUM of 160,000 crashes were due to a driver using a cellphone.
Safe Driving Practices:
- Never drive if you have consumed alcohol in the past 12 hours
- Don't operate a vehicle if you're tired
- Check your mirrors each time you plan on driving your car
- Set your radio station before you begin driving, that way you won't have to search for it while you're driving
- Turn your cellphone off or put it on "do not disturb" or "driving" mode so you won't receive any notifications that can possibly be distracting
- Do not eat while driving. Pull off the road to a rest stop to enjoy your snack or meal
- If you're driving a long distance, be sure to take frequent breaks. If you get tired switch drivers, or stop to rest if you're alone
If you have a passenger in the car, let them take phone calls and respond to messages for you, otherwise pull over to take the call or send the message.
Before leaving for your destination, set your GPS and review directions FIRST. Even your GPS is a distraction, if not mounted in the proper place. (on windshield, in center console, on dashboard)
Your GPS helps you get to your destination, but you could delay your arrival by being distracted and causing an accident.
Penalties for violating the hands-free driving law in MA:
First offense: $100 fine
Second offense: $250 fine, and completion of a distracted driving educational program
Third offense: $500 fine, completion of a distracted driving program, and insurance surcharge