ROCKLAND (CBS) — The state’s new distracted driving law, which prohibits all cell phone use behind the wheel, goes into effect on February 23. Massachusetts State Police said they will have extra patrols enforcing the law as it is rolled out.

Drivers will have to adjust to hand-free alternatives.

“Anyone touching a phone for any other reason other than to activate the hands-free mode with the push of a button or to call 911 in an emergency is in violation of the law,” said Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason.

While drivers cannot hold their cell phones, they can use a phone that is properly mounted to a windshield, dashboard, or center console to make or receive a call and activate GPS as long as it only requires one touch.

“While many new cars facilitate easy hands-free communication, not all vehicles are created equal when it comes to adapting. The average vehicle on the road today is 11.8 years old, so many motorists will be compelled to purchase and install new hands-free technologies ranging from Bluetooth to car mounts to comply with the new law,” said a statement from AAA.

Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and voice-activated smartphone apps comply with the law.

Mason added, “We see the dangers and the consequences [of distracted driving] every day across our state. The texting law that was passed several years ago was a great start to combat distractions but there was well-documented challenges to enforcing it because drivers were still allowed to handle their phones to make and receive calls which in it of itself was a distraction from the task at hand.”

The law still applies to drivers stopped at red lights. For more information about the law, visit Mass.gov.

“Distracted driving kills an average of nine people and injures over 1,000 people a day across the United States, that’s a huge number. In Massachusetts, that number is 25 fatalities and 237 serious injuries that were caused by motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers each year between 2015 and 2018,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. He also said distracted driving contributes to congestion.

State Police said there will be a grace period until March 21, where drivers will not be penalized for using their phones. After that, first-time offenders will be fined $100. A second offense will result in a $250 fine and a mandatory distracted driving educational program. Third offenses will receive a $500 fine, an insurance surcharge, and a mandatory distracted driving educational program.

Teen drivers cannot use their cell phones in any way.

Comments
  1. Richard L DePaulo Jr. says:

    🔴 I do not drive using a cell phone – I don’t even use them any where always refer a landline phone — I do not support — outlawing it’s use — many motorists only use them to report a problem they see out their window when driving — so as to aid or save someone else — no reason when in stuck traffic jam — one should not be able to use the cell phone to report the death or injury or forest fire concern – they see — or etc…. that another is experiencing on the side road ways. The legislation Govenor Baker is about to + did sign is going to fail the test of time it has no clauses in it so as to allow it. Hands Free car speakers — do not allow a call to be dialed out unless the vehicle is in PARK itself or user has it in their contact list – and some do not allow it if in contact list — its no good. As proposed, the law would apply to emergency vehicle operators, drivers who are lawfully stopped or parked, or anyone who is using a cell phone to report an emergency. — if your not in your own car you can not program your phone to use hands free mode inside of it – pin # lockout – or it takes hours to do it and or its a business vehicle — thus no ability to call out for emergency calls – thus law will be thrown out in time by courts since it endangers the vehicle occupants lives and that of others in need of help that they may wish to call out on their phones to get help for as well — while driving into the city and one can not stop – no rest areas and no break down lanes exist – all lanes packed with slow moving near stopped traffic at those times no exception exists in the rigid rule of the law set forth making it to rigid without flexibility to stand the test of time in years to come. I do not drive using a cell phone — I do not support — outlawing it’s use in a manner of cementing it in without flexibility as it will hence forth be. Its not needed and is to much – no reason when in stuck traffic jam — one should not be able to use the cell phone to report the death or injury or forest fire concern or road debre on a roadway that if struck by a vehicle will result in terrible collisions. Note: 911 is not always the only emergency number one may need to reach out to either. 🔴 I just can’t see how it will work out as it is written as time moves on is all. Best Wishes !

    🔴 MBTA and or School Bus Drivers – When an activity takes place on the bus casuing a loud comotion [ stabbing, gun shots, fighting, screaming of the on board passangers hysterical etc… by all 65 of them. – Normally times exist that a bus driver may fear would cause difficuty in conversation relative to the passing of emeregncy information between them and the dispatcher, or other group feel they may need to walk down to that end of the bus and feels it makes the best sense to initiate call without the microphone speaker speakers that rejuvenates all back ground noises into the amplifiers of the system causing acousticla feed back noises that bar all converstion and meaning everyone must keep saying ha , what , repeat that, can her you, again and agian – or it may divulge to gun holder attempt to call help means time to shoot and kill driver is best to be done now. The new cell phone law endangers the lives of the occupants of the bus and driver yet no clause in it for them to protect themselves under beneath the law to the level it should be exists in it. The law should be over turned and thrown out in time. The law enadngers people with pace makers as is noted in the cell phone blu-tooth instruction manual – it is not be used when one has a pacemaker in proximity of it. The Blu-tooth hands free systems are a known cause as well of powerfull doses of cancer causing electromagnetic wave radiation that causes lethat brain tumors and cancer over time as well. The Federal government wrote the better law in that all new vehciles have to have them in it. The State wrote the worst law barring people from [ using alternatives or not using it ] in the time frames it is uncalled for and the lesser choice when a better choice that save lives and doesn’t endanger them in the inverse retrospect exists. 🔴 Age discrimination based laws – one over 18 can do things that one beneath 18 can not do – even though neither group should be doing either one – no one is safer doing anything on either side of the coin – some one could rule it is wrong to fine punish or penalize one more or lesser than the other one since the age discrimination clause in the state and federal constitutions were designed to stop unreasonable taking advantage of some one in a mis fortunate overall situation with need or warrant to do so as this law may be deemed to do onto them in time. 🔴Requirment for Senior citizens to get more eye exams and not be ing able to renew drivers license unless they come in to registry to do so unlike any other age group is also Age discrimination and constitutionally banned by both State and Federal Constitutions relative to the Massachusetts thought train of the implementation of the policy. In that it is age based implementation only based on no other factor. For it to be legal all age groups should be compelled to follow the same practice and have the same additional test and come in the office to re-new your license. To do so more frequently and have same price high service fee for the license that is not good for the same number of years that the other age groups have there’s good for. The insurance companies all have reports and state that the senior citizens are the safest drivers and cost the least to insure. While the state of Massachusetts apparently see them as an easy group to take advantage of and screw them all so as to bring in more service fee revenue off them at the registry office..

    🔴 I just can’t see how it will work out as it is written as time moves on is all. Best Wishes !

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