Hands-free driving law to soon take effect in Massachusetts

SE Mass

SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — A new hands-free driving law will go in effect in Massachusetts starting next week.

While the law in Rhode Island has been in place for more than a year and a half, starting Feb. 23, it will be against the law to text, or hold your phone, while driving in the Bay State.

“Part of our strategy will be to utilize marked, unmarked vehicles, some of those vehicles will be two-person cruisers. That will allow for a spotter,” Mass. State Police Col. Christopher Mason said.

However, some Massachusetts drivers are hesitant to think enforcing the law will be effective.

“There’s a lot of people on the road, how do you pay attention to all of them?” said Swansea resident John Facchiano. “I mean you can have five pass you by while you’re pulling one over texting and driving, and you can’t pull the rest over.”

“I think eventually if they start pulling people over, and people tell people, ‘I got a ticket,’ because when they did the seat belt law, I was pulled over and got a ticket for that and I told people, and I think after a while, now it’s automatic,” said Seekonk driver Patricia Cummings.

One way to help with this new law is that if your car has the capability, set up Bluetooth or apps in the coming week that includes GPS.

“The law allows you to touch the phone once. So if I did get a call, I could touch the phone and just answer it once,” said AAA Northeast spokesperson John Paul.

Drivers under 18 can’t use the phone at all. You can’t even pull over to answer a text, you have to be in a parking lot.

If you get caught, there is a grace period. Drivers will get a warning until March 31. After that, they’ll be hit with a $100 fine for the first offense. Additional offenses result in a $250 fine and a driver safety course.

To learn more about the hands-free laws in Rhode Island here and in Massachusetts here.

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