Massachusetts law about automobiles

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on the law of automobiles in general, including buying, selling, and lemon laws. For more specific motor vehicle topics, see the Related links below.

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question, please contact our law librarians for assistance.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.90 Motor vehicles

MGL c.90B, § 26 Minimum age is 14 to ride an ATV

MGL c.90D Certificate of title

MGL c.93K Right to repair law

MGL c.111, § 142M Motor vehicle emissions inspection and repair

MGL c.266, § 120D Removal of motor vehicles from private ways or property; penalties; liability for removal and storage charges; release of vehicle

MGL c.266, § 148 Sale of vehicle catalytic converters

St.2022, c.179, § 46 Bans the sale of new gas-powered vehicles (effective January 1, 2035)

St.2022, c.358 Adds protections for pedestrians, bicyclists and other vulnerable road users.

Massachusetts regulations

201 CMR 11 New and used motor vehicle arbitration

310 CMR 60.02 Vehicle emissions rules and exceptions

540 CMR Registry of Motor Vehicles

940 CMR 5 Motor vehicle consumer regulations

Massachusetts executive orders

Executive Order 572: To promote the testing and deployment of highly automated driving technologies, October 2016.
Establishes a Special Working Group on Autonomous Vehicles to study and make recommendations for regulation of self-driving vehicles

Federal laws

Public Law 117 - 58 - Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
Includes a section titled “Advanced Impaired Driving Technology,” which directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to initiate the rulemaking process for setting a new automobile safety standard. This standard mandates that all new cars be equipped with "advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology" within three years of the issuance of the regulations.

Web sources

General information

Buying, selling, leasing, and donating

  • Bill of Sale This is a sample bill of sale from a private webpage. The Massachusetts RMV does not have an official form.
  • Buying a used car, Mass. Legal Help.
    Provides a detailed description of the steps involved in buying a used car: what to look for, how to negotiate, elements of a contract, and more.
  • Donating a car to charity, Mass. Attorney General.
    Provides "tips to consider when deciding whether to donate your car to charity."
  • Should you buy or lease your car?, Mass. Legal Help.
    Helpful information on deciding if a purchase or lease is best for you.
  • What to know about buying or leasing a car, Mass. Attorney General.
    Learn your rights and review important tips and advice such as : You do not have a 3-day right to cancel your purchase of a new or used vehicle.

Equipment and modifications

Lemon laws

  • A dealer’s guide to the Massachusetts used vehicle warranty law, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
    Extensive (over 50 page) guide to "ensure that new dealers coming into the marketplace are aware of their obligations under the law." Information is helpful to consumers as well.
  • Gliottone v. Ford Motor Company, 95 Mass. App. Ct. 704 (2019)
    "Expert testimony is not always required to demonstrate that a vehicle has a nonconformity. In many circumstances ... a rational juror, without an expert, can understand the facts necessary to decide whether a plaintiff has demonstrated an actionable defect or malfunction."
  • Lemon laws, Mass. Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.
    Provides basic provisions of the new, leased, used, and failed inspection lemon laws. Information about private party sales, eligibility to receive compensation and applying for arbitration as well as a sample of final opportunity to repair letter.

 

20-25 mph Max speed of low speed vehicle

Limited use and low speed vehicles 

Low speed vehicles, Mass. RMV.
Low speed vehicles have certain requirements and restrictions you have to be aware of in order to drive them in Massachusetts.

Mechanic's garage and stored vehicle (garageman's) liens

  • MGL c.255, § 25 Garage keepers lien
  • MGL c.255, § 26 Enforcement of lien
  • Involuntary transfers. Registry of Motor Vehicles.
    Provides more information on Mechanic’s garage and stored vehicle liens. "To transfer ownership, a copy of the court order is always required."
  • Procedural forms annotated, 6th edition (Mass. Practice vol. 10C), sec.114:5. Complaint—Garage keeper's lien for storage and repairs.

Recalls

  • Automobile recalls, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
    Provides recall information, including vehicle and equipment campaigns from 1966 to present.

Print sources

Contact

Last updated: January 10, 2023

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