(Photo credit: Pascal Pochard-Casabianca/AFP via Getty Images)
As of today (February 23, 2020), all drivers in Massachusetts are now required to put down their phones!
For just about 17 years, legislators in Massachusetts have been trying to pass a bill banning the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. Back in November 2019 the law was passed and it goes into effect today.
It mirrors laws that many other states have in place and deals with two issues: requiring hands-free device use while driving and monitoring for racial profiling of motorists by law enforcement.
The law mandates that drivers use their mobile devices in hands-free mode, even if using it for something other than texting.
The new law states the following:
- No operator of a motor vehicle shall hold a mobile electronic device.
- No operator of a motor vehicle shall use a mobile electronic device unless the device is being used in hands-free mode.
- No operator of a motor vehicle shall read or view text, images or video displayed on a mobile electronic device; provided, however, that an operator may view a map generated by a navigation system or application on a mobile electronic device that is mounted on or affixed to a vehicle’s windshield, dashboard or center console in a manner that does not impede the operation of the motor vehicle.
The new law permits the use of electronic devices if they are being used in response to an emergency, necessary for first responders to do their jobs. It also permits use if operators are stationary and not in active lanes of travel.
Drivers will only receive warnings for violating any of the new provisions through March 31.
Check out a PSA video from the Cambridge Police Department below.