Your Massachusetts Motorcycle Association would like to remind everyone that a new "hands-free" law in Massachusetts will be effective on Sunday, February 23rd, 2020.
The new law, more formally known as "An Act requiring the hands-free use of mobile telephones while driving," prohibits drivers from using any electronic devices unless it is being used in a "hands-free" mode, meaning without holding the device — such as using voice-controls through a speaker or Bluetooth interface.
Drivers can look at the device if it's being used for navigation, provided that the device is mounted in an appropriate location that doesn't remove the driver's attention from the road. The only exception is if the device is being used in response to an emergency or if the vehicle is stationary and NOT in an active travel lane (meaning NOT simply stopped at a traffic signal or sign).
Stricter than prior anti-texting laws, fines for violation include a $100 fine for a first offense, $250 for a second, and $500 for any subsequent offense. A second offense or any thereafter also require completion of a "distracted driving prevention" educational program. Third and later offenses also count as surchargeable incidents. Warnings for first-time violations are expected to be issued for the first month.
A couple of key points to remember:
- The "Hands-Free" Law is effective Sunday, February 23, 2020
- Warnings are expected to be issued through March 31, 2020
- Fines would begin April 1, 2020
- The"Hands-Free" Law applies to ALL Vehicle Operators, including Motorcyclists
Your Massachusetts Motorcycle Association supports this new Law and believes it will go a long way to helping create safer roadways for all users, especially motorcyclists who are often victim of drivers who aren't paying enough attention to their surroundings. According to data provided by the MassRMV, in Massachusetts, 65% of the time that a motorcycle is involved in a collision with another vehicle, it's because the other vehicle turned left in front of the motorcycle. While the existing anti-texting law and restrictions of phone usage by Junior Operators has proven to be somewhat limited in its effectiveness, this new "Hands-Free" law is far further reaching and can be further leveraged in awareness and educational campaigns.