Text Transcript:

Warning! New Law Effective September 30, 1010- No Texting While Driving

As of September 30 th, it is against the law in Massachusetts to send or to read a text message or e-mail, or to engage in an internet search, or engage in any other non-calling activity on a cell phone, laptop or other internet-connected device while operating a motor vehicle. Since operation of a motor vehicle does not cease while being stopped at red lights and stop signs, these activities are also prohibited then. A fine of $ 100 will be assessed for the first offense, $ 250 for the second offense, and $ 500 for the third or subsequent offense(s).

The bill also bans the use of cell phones, including hands-free devices, for all drivers under 18, also known as junior operators. A first violation will result in a $ 100 fine and a 60 day license revocation, and the junior operator must show they have completed a program as selected by the registrar for attitudinal adjustment before their license is reinstated. A second violation carries a $ 250 fine and a 180 day license revocation, and a third offense carries a $ 500 fine and a 1 -year license revocation.

Violations are primary offenses, meaning that police officers can stop a vehicle and issue citations if they observe the prohibited activity taking place. There does not need to be another reason for a traffic stop. However, violations will not be considered moving violations unless they lead to an accident, and will not lead to insurance surcharges.

The bill, H. 4795, more commonly known as the "Safe driving Law ", signed by Governor Patrick on July 2 nd, 2010, aims to curb the incidence of motor vehicle fatalities and injuries resulting from distracted driving.

According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, 5,474 people died and 448,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents throughout the US in 2009.

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

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