Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New cell phone law goes into effect tomorrow

The following is a summary of the new law regarding cell phone use while driving, which will go into effect tomorrow. Thanks to Chase & Lunt Insurance for the info.

Sending or Reading Electronic Messages
Operators cannot use any mobile electronic device to write, send, or read an electronic message (including text messages, emails, instant messages, or accessing the Internet) while operating a vehicle. This law applies to drivers of all ages.

Violation Penalties (for all ages):

  • 1st offense - $100 fine
  • 2nd offense - $250 fine
  • 3rd or subsequent offense - $500 fine

Mobile Phone Usage by Operators Under 18
Operators under the age of 18 cannot use any mobile electronic device for any reason while operating a motor vehicle. The only exception is for reporting an emergency.

Violation Penalties:

  • 1st offense - $100 fine, 60-day license suspension, and a required attitudinal retraining course
  • 2nd offense - $250 fine, 180-day license suspension
  • 3rd or subsequent offense - $500 fine, one-year suspension

Unsafe or Impeded Operation Due to the Use of a Mobile Phone
Operators over the age of 18 can use mobile telephones for calls as long as one hand remains on the steering wheel at all times. However, the use of a mobile telephone must not interfere with driving and can’t be used for texting.

Violation Penalties (for all ages):

  • 1st offense - $35 fine
  • 2nd offense (within 12 months) - $75 fine
  • 3rd offense (within 12 months) - $150 fine

NOTE: It is not a violation if the vehicle is parked in an area of the road not meant for driving.


Negligent Operation and Injury from Mobile Phone Use

Personal injury or property damage caused by negligent operation of a motor vehicle is a criminal offense. If you crashed because you were using a mobile electronic device, you will face criminal charges. In addition to the criminal charges, you will face loss of license as described below.

Violation Penalties:
Junior Operators (under 18 years of age)

  • 1st offense – 180-day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent offense (within three years) – One-year suspension

18 Years or Older

  • 1st offense – 60-day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent offense (within three years) – One-year suspension

5 comments:

Ari Herzog said...

That is part of the law. The rest is summarized at http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/rmv/SafeDrivingLawSummary.aspx

Anonymous said...

What about access to gps for directions--the whole point is to be able to access directions while driving--and phones are used for this purpose?

Gillian Swart said...

Good point, to an extent, anon. What about GPS devices (other than a cell phone)? Are they not as distracting as a cell phone? I've seen, and been in a car with, women driving while applying eye liner, people reading newspapers while driving ... and on and on. You really can't legislate careless behavior.

Anonymous said...

Here's my comment on this new law and the outrageous assault on our freedom and --- oops, gotta go, I just hit the car in front of me.

Anonymous said...

Gillian--it's true that there are many distractions--and each driver has a responsibility to know his/her own limits. For many it's probably more dangerous sipping a hot coffee--and if that falls on you--yikes. Flipping radio stations can be distracting. And in the old days, I use to sit with a map on my lap trying to figure out where I was going. I talk on the phone all the time--and I am especially vigilant when doing so. I use gps on my phone too. Again--I am vigilant. But I know people who can't concentrate on driving while doing those things--so they shouldn't. I am more scared of being tired behind the wheel. This is a tough one. And the less experience a driver has--the less potential distractions the better.