Massachusetts law about traffic violations

Laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on traffic violations law.

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Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c. 85, § 15 Lights on vehicles
Headlights must be on when windshield wipers are needed.

MGL c. 89 Law of the road

  • MGL c. 89, § 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, § 7D Vehicles in crash involving only property damage to be moved out of travel lane

MGL c.90 Motor vehicles

  • MGL. c. 90, § 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, § 7AA Child passenger restraints
  • MGL c. 90, § 7U Motorcycles; maximum sound levels
  • MGL c. 90, § 8 Operator's licenses
    An applicant for the renewal of a license 75 years of age or older shall apply for a renewal in person at a registry branch office.
  • MGL c. 90, § 8M Use of mobile telephone, hands-free mobile telephone or mobile electronic device by person under 18 years of age while operating motor vehicle prohibited
  • MGL c. 90, § 13B Use of hand-held devices
    "No operator of a motor vehicle shall hold a mobile electronic device."
  • MGL c. 90, § 14A Protection of blind pedestrians crossing or attempting to cross ways
    Commonly known as the Mass. White Cane Law.
  • MGL c. 90, § 16 Offensive or illegal operation of motor vehicles
    No person shall operate a motor vehicle upon any way, public or private, unless such motor vehicle is equipped with a muffler to prevent excessive or unnecessary noise.

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 7.00 Use of the Massachusetts turnpike and the metropolitan highway system

  • 700 CMR 7.04 Electronic toll collection

Massachusetts court rules

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 cases

Web sources

Appeal your traffic ticket, Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Explains how to appeal a ticket.

Blue Envelope Program, Massachusetts State Police.
A Blue Envelope is "a specially designed envelope that holds a driver's essential documents—license, registration, and a contact card. ... The envelope features critical communication guidelines on its exterior, specifically tailored to assist law enforcement officers in recognizing and adapting their approach when interacting with a driver who has autism."

Cell phone and texting laws, Governors Highway Safety Association, 2021.
Provides a chart of all state cell phone and text messaging laws.

Clear snow from your car or get pulled over, state police warn drivers,, Jan. 2019.
"In Massachusetts, police can use a couple of statutes to enforce snow-clearing. . . . [O]fficers can issue a $40 fine for impeded operation if a driver has obstructed windows and a $200 fine for driving with an unsecured load, which can include heavy sheets of snow or ice on a car's roof."

Discretionary, mandatory, and public safety suspensions, Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Provides a list and brief description of types of suspensions and revocations.

IIHS research bibliography, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Search for statistics and laws on highway safety issues by topic. Also details selected motor vehicle laws by state, including electronic device laws, seat belt and child seat laws, marijuana lawsalcohol interlock laws, and more. 

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 manuals, Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles.
These manuals include 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.

Table of citable motor vehicle offenses, effective January 14, 2022.
Lists the fines for motor vehicle infractions, and indicates offenses which carry criminal penalties.

Traffic tickets, Mass. District Court.
"Find out what you should do if you get a traffic ticket and what the court process is like, as well as information on how to appeal a traffic ticket and court decision."

What to expect at a traffic ticket hearing, Mass. District Court.
"Find out what will happen at your traffic ticket hearing, who will be there, and what happens if you miss your hearing."

Print sources

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Last updated: May 6, 2024

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