According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation [MassDOT], the Registry of Motor Vehicles [RMV] recorded 53,638 citations for distracted driving since the “hands-free” law went into effect on February 23, 2020.
Of those citations issued, 40,181 were warnings.
The “hands-free” law requires drivers using any electronic device to do so in hands-free mode. Drivers cannot read or view text, images or video, unless the content helps with navigation and displays on a mounted device. The law also prohibits drivers from making phone calls unless they can do so without holding their phone.
Punishment for violating the hands-free law includes a $100 fine for a first offense, a $250 fine for a second offense, and a $500 fine for a third or subsequent offense. Second or subsequent offenses required to completion of an educational program focused on distracted driving prevention.
The law has required the educational program assigned to drivers 161 times, with 74 individuals having completed the online training requirement, and 87 individuals currently required to complete the training.
A third or subsequent offense will count as a surchargeable incident.
According to the Fiscal Year 2022 Massachusetts Highway Safety Plan, from 2015 to 2019 in Massachusetts there were 1,675 crashes involving a distracted driver. In 204 of those crashes, or 12%, a total of 213 total fatalities occurred.
Learn more about the “hand-free law”.