BOSTON (CBS) – The new hands-free driving law is officially in effect across Massachusetts. Effective immediately, you have to put down the phone while you’re behind the wheel.

Drivers have been warned about the new law for weeks. It went into effect at midnight, designed to make things safer on the Massachusetts roads.

“Distracted driving is a tremendous risk for the driver, the passengers in the vehicle and for anyone who is on the other end of an accident that involves a distracted driver,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.

Starting Sunday, police officers are enforcing the new law, issuing warnings to those caught on their cellphones while driving up until April 1. Then, the citations will follow.

“Drivers may only use their phones to activate the hands-free mode with a touch, tap or swipe of the phone or to call 911 in an emergency,” said Christopher Mason of Massachusetts State Police.

That means no texting, changing a song, or making a phone call without the use of hands-free technology. For drivers under 18 years old, they can’t use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle for any reason.

Drivers can still use GPS devices, but only if in hands-free mode with the cell phone mounted on the windshield or dashboard.

If you are pulled over for violating the law, fines range from $100 up to $500 for repeat offenders.

“The most important thing that we get out of this law is a dramatic change in behavior with respect to how we all think about our time behind the wheel,” said Baker.


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