Guide Massachusetts law about traffic violations

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on traffic violations law

Massachusetts laws

St. 2010, c.155 Safe Driving Law
Bans texting, limits cell phone use while driving. New requirements for drivers over 75 and more

MGL c.89, s.7C Move Over Law
Requires drivers to move "into a lane not adjacent to that of the emergency response vehicle, highway maintenance vehicle or recovery vehicle" whenever possible.

MGL c.89, s.15 Lights on vehicles
Headlights must be on when windshield wipers are needed

MGL c.90, Motor Vehicles

  • MGL. c.90, s.3 Motor Vehicles Owned by Non-Residents
    A nonresident enrolled as a student at a school or college in the commonwealth who operates a motor vehicle registered in another state must file with local police a statement that provides ownership, registration information, and liability insurance coverage information.
  • MGL c.90, s.7AA Child passenger restraints
  • MGL c.90, s.14A Commonly known as the Mass. White Cane Law
    Provides protection for blind pedestrians crossing or attempting to cross ways

MGL c.90C Procedure for Motor Vehicle Offenses

Massachusetts regulations

211 CMR 74  Standards of Fault

211 CMR 134  Safe Driver Insurance Plan
Lists minor and major traffic accidents and offenses which subject the violator to "points" on their auto insurance

540 CMR  Registry of Motor Vehicles

700 CMR 7.04  Electronic Toll Collection

Federal regulations

76 FR 75470 Restricting the Use of Cellular Phones by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers, as corrected by 76 FR 82179 
Restricts the use of hand-held mobile telephones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs)

Selected case law

Commonwealth v. Mongardi, 26 Mass. App. Ct. 5 (1988)
A person issued a citation for a civil Motor vehicle infraction has no right to jury trial.  

Gillespie v. City of Northampton, 460 Mass. 148 (2011)
"[T]he imposition of $275 in filing fees to obtain judicial review of a final decision of a municipal parking clerk regarding a parking citation [does not offend] the Massachusetts Constitution."

Police Department of Salem v. Sullivan, 460 Mass. 637 (2011)
Court OKs substantial filing fees to contest civil motor vehicle citations. In footnote 7, the court states, "the requirement in St.2009, c. 27, § 74, of a fifty dollar fee to appeal the clerk-magistrate's finding is in conflict with rule VII(b)(3) of the Trial Court Rules, the Uniform Rule on Civil Motor Vehicle Infractions (LexisNexis 2010–2011), which states that '[t]here shall be no filing fee for an appeal to a judge from the finding and disposition of a clerk-magistrate. We recognize that, where a court rule is in irreconcilable conflict with a statute, 'the statute supersedes the rule.'"

Court rules

Web sources

AAA Digest of Motor Laws
An "online compendium of laws and rules related to driving and owning a motor vehicle in the United States and Canada." Select a topic such as accident reporting, move over law, seatbelts and more, and get easy access to the laws of all 50 states

Beat Your Ticket: Go to Court & Win, Nolo, 2013
Includes discussion on speed detectors, presenting your case, traffic rules for all 50 states and more. Requires Library Card for access

Cell Phone and Texting Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association, 2014
Outlines all state cell phone and text messaging laws

Civil Motor Vehicle Infractions: Frequently Asked Questions, Mass. District Court
Covers nineteen issues concerning what may happen after you receive a traffic ticket

How to Win Your Case in Traffic Court Without a Lawyer, Atlantic Publishing, 2009
While not specific to Massachusetts, provides helpful information on how to prepare to go to court to contest a ticket. Requires Library Card for access

Information About US State Highway Safety Laws, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Details selected motor vehicle laws by state, including cell phone laws, licensing systems for young drivers, helmet laws and more

Mandatory License Suspensions, Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles

Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), Federal Highway Administration, 2009 edition. MUTCD defines the standards used nationwide to install and maintain the signs, signals, and pavement markings on all streets and highways. See also: Massachusetts Amendments to the 2009 MUTCD(2012)

Massachusetts Driver's Manual, Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles
An online version of the booklet you get along with your Learner's Permit, this site includes all the key information needed to drive legally in Massachusetts. Chapters include: obtaining your license, keeping your license, rules of the road and more

Pay a Citation Online, Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles

Vehicular Crimes, Mass. District Attorneys Association

Citable Motor Vehicle Offenses and CMVI Assessments, effective October 23, 2013
Lists the fines for motor vehicle infractions, and indicates offenses which carry criminal penalties

Last update: January 22, 2018

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