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Hands-Free Law

This page provides an essential summary of the Massachusetts Hands-Free Law, detailing its specific rules for drivers of all ages and the penalties for violations.

Effective from February 23, 2020, the Massachusetts Hands-Free law prohibits operators of motor vehicles from using any electronic device, including mobile telephones, unless the device is utilized in hands-free mode. The primary goal of this law is to reduce distracted driving and improve road safety for all.

Penalties for Violation of the Hands-Free Law

Offense Penalty
First Offense $100 fine
Second Offense $250 fine and mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program
Third and Subsequent Offenses $500 fine, insurance surcharge, and mandatory completion of a distracted driving educational program

Implications for Drivers

Drivers Aged 18 and Over:

  • Electronic devices and mobile phones may only be used in hands-free mode.
  • Holding or supporting any electronic device/phone while driving is prohibited.
  • Devices can be touched only to activate the hands-free mode, and must be properly mounted to the windshield, dashboard, or center console in a way that does not obstruct the operation of the vehicle.
  • Drivers are not permitted to touch devices for purposes of texting, emailing, using apps, watching videos, or using the internet.
  • The activation of GPS navigation is permitted if the device is properly mounted.
  • Handheld use is only permitted if the vehicle is both stationary and not situated in a public travel lane or a bicycle lane. However, handheld use is prohibited at red lights or stop signs.
  • The use of voice-to-text and communication to electronic devices is legal only when the device is properly mounted; use of a headphone (one ear) is permitted.

Drivers Under the Age of 18:

  • No use of electronic devices while driving is permitted. This includes usage in hands-free mode.

Note: Operators may use a cell phone to call 911 to report an emergency. If feasible, safely pull over and stop before calling 911.


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