Let's be honest. Have you ever broken the Massachusetts Hands-Free Law, even just for a second or two? I'm not going to lie, I have. Taking even just one second to glance at your smartphone while driving is probably one of the dumbest things that anyone could ever do, but I have done it... and I am betting you have to. It's for this reason police departments often remind us how important it is to abide by this life-saving law.

A recent reminder by the Springfield Police Department...

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Springfield Police Department has taken the opportunity to remind us all of the importance of the Massachusetts Hands-Free Law as well as the importance of staying focused while operating a vehicle.

Checking your text message can wait...

The Springfield Police Department, in a Facebook post on Wednesday, said that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people died in distraction-affected crashes in 2020, an increase from the 3,119 such deaths in 2019. They did not post the specific statistics for Massachusetts, but it's clear from the National numbers that things need to change. We can all wait until we are parked to check that text message that just came in. Is it worth your life? Is it worth someone else's life?

 

Tero Vesalainen
Tero Vesalainen
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Summary of the Hands-Free Law:

Massachusetts law prohibits drivers from writing, sending, or reading electronic messages, using apps, or browsing the internet while driving, even if stopped at a light or in traffic. Operators are permitted to use hands-free technology including Bluetooth, “single tap or swipe” to activate or deactivate hands-free mode, navigation technology mounted to the car’s dash, and phone use in emergency situations. Drivers may use their phones if they are stationary and not in an active traffic lane. Drivers under 18 are prohibited entirely from using mobile phones and other electronic devices while driving.

(The above video is from the USDOTNHTSA YourTube page)

 

The fines for breaking the Massachusetts Hands-Free Law:

The penalties for violating the hands-free law are a $100 fine for the first offense, a $250 fine for the second offense, and a $500 fine plus an insurance surcharge for the third and any subsequent offense.
nhtsa.gov
nhtsa.gov
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You can read more about the Hands-Free Law at the Mass.gov website, HERE. Pamphlets with information about the law, in English and Spanish, can also be found on the webpage.

 

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Here is what the pamphlet looks like (English):

Mass.gov
Mass.gov
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The Springfield Police Department encourages you to:

  • Be good role models for young drivers and set a good example.
  • Talk with your teens about responsible driving.
  • Speak up when a driver uses an electronic device behind the wheel.
  • Offer to make the call for the driver, so his or her full attention stays on the road.
  • Always wear your seat belt. Seat belts are your best defense against unsafe drivers.
  • Be alert for pedestrians and cyclists, especially those who may themselves be distracted.
  • Turn off electronic devices and put them out of reach before starting to drive.

 

Mass.gov
Mass.gov
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