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Mobile Phone/Texting Law Effective
September 30, 2010

New legislation is taking effect that all cellphone owners should be aware of.  Effective September 30th, Massachusetts has enacted penalties for drivers who are stopped for violating texting regulations.  Below is a recap of the law and the associated penalties.

Sending or Reading Electronic Messages
Operators cannot use any mobile electronic device (see Chapter 155 of the Acts of 2010 for the definition of mobile electronic device) to write, send, or read an electronic message (including text messages, emails, instant messages, or accessing the Internet) while operating a vehicle. This law applies to drivers of all ages.

*Violation Penalties (for all ages):

  • 1st offense - $100 fine
  • 2nd offense - $250 fine
  • 3rd or subsequent offense - $500 fine

Mobile Phone Usage by Operators Under 18
Operators under the age of 18 cannot use any mobile electronic device for any reason while operating a motor vehicle. The only exception is for reporting an emergency.

*Violation Penalties:

  • 1st offense - $100 fine, 60-day license suspension, and a required attitudinal retraining course
  • 2nd offense - $250 fine, 180-day license suspension
  • 3rd or subsequent offense - $500 fine, one-year suspension

Unsafe or Impeded Operation Due to the Use of a Mobile Phone
Operators over the age of 18 can use mobile telephones for calls as long as one hand remains on the steering wheel at all times. However, the use of a mobile telephone must not interfere with driving and can’t be used for texting.

*Violation Penalties (for all ages):

  • 1st offense - $35 fine
  • 2nd offense (within 12 months) - $75 fine
  • 3rd offense (within 12 months) - $150 fine

*NOTE: It is not a violation if the vehicle is parked in an area of the road not meant for driving.

Negligent Operation and Injury from Mobile Phone Use

Personal injury or property damage caused by negligent operation of a motor vehicle is a criminal offense. If you crashed because you were using a mobile electronic device, you will face criminal charges. In addition to the criminal charges, you will face loss of license as described below.

Violation Penalties:
Junior Operators (under 18 years of age)

  • 1st offense – 180-day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent offense (within three years) – One-year suspension

18 Years or Older

  • 1st offense – 60-day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent offense (within three years) – One-year suspension