Driving an automobile is something most of us do every day. We drive to and from work, we drive to the grocery store, we drop our children off at soccer practice. Sometimes, it seems all we do is drive. It is important to know all of the laws and regulations in each state that we drive in. Some driving laws vary from state to state, but as a driver, you are responsible to know all the driving rules in whatever state you are in. Not knowing a particular law exists is not a justifiable excuse. Below is a list of traffic violations in Massachusetts. You should become familiar with these rules and regulations if you drive in Massachusetts to avoid paying fees from a ticket or causing an accident.
Safe Driving Law (St.2010, c. 155)
This law bans texting and limits cell phone use while driving. It is unlawful for a person under the age of eighteen to use a mobile device or a hands-free mobile device while operating a motor vehicle. If the junior operator violates this law, they will have to pay a fine of $100 and have his or her license or permit suspended for sixty days for a first offense. The only exception to this law is in the case of an emergency. It is also unlawful for the drivers of public transportation to use a mobile telephone or hands-free device while performing their official duties. Whoever violates this will be fined $500. The law bans motor vehicle operators from using devices capable of accessing the internet or to send messages while operating the vehicle. An initial offense is punishable by a fine of $100. This law also gives a medical health care provider who is acting in their professional capacity the ability to report to the register a request of medical evaluation to operate a motor vehicle safety. The request cannot be solely based on age.
Move Over Law (MGL c.89, s.7C)
This law requires drivers to move over at least one lane from where any emergency response vehicle, highway maintenance vehicle or recovery vehicle are parked, whenever possible. The driver of a motor vehicle must also proceed with caution and reduce their speed. If it is impracticable to change lines, they must be sure to slow down and be cautious. Violation of this law could lead to a fine up to $100. Far too many police officers are struck by cars and seriously injured or killed while on highways dealing with other vehicles.
Child Passenger Restraints:
This law states that a passenger in a motor vehicle under the age of 8 or shorter than 57 inches must be secured by a child passenger restraint. A passenger in a motor vehicle who is under the age of 13 must wear a safety belt. This does not apply to those riding on school buses, riding in cars older than those made in 1966 not equipped with safety belts, and those physically unable to use a child passenger restraint or child restraint designed for children with special needs (as long as the condition is certified by a physician). If this law is violated, the driver of the motor vehicle will pay a fine of $25. The operator of a taxi is not required to pay those fines.
Infractions and Fines:
You may be fined for a variety of automobile infractions. To see a chart of motor vehicle offenses, with corresponding fines, click here. This chart is effective as of October 23, 2013.
The maximum speed in Massachusetts is 65 miles per hour, unless otherwise noted.
Standards of Fault (211 CMR 74):
There are certain circumstances when it is presumed that the operator’s fault is more than 50%. This is important to note when it comes to lawsuits against other automobile operators when an accident occurs. This includes collision with a person or parked vehicle, rear end collisions, out of lane collisions, failure to signal while changing lanes, failure to proceed with due caution from traffic control signals or signs, collision on wrong side of road, operating a vehicle in the wrong direction, collision at uncontrolled intersection, collision while backing up, collision while making a left turn or U-turn, leaving from a parked position such as a parking lot or driveway, opened or opening vehicle doors, vehicle that rolls and causes a collision, collision while merging onto a highway or rotary, failure to yield to emergency vehicles, and collision at an MBTA “T” intersection.
Safe Driver Insurance Plan:
This lists major and minor traffic accidents and offenses, which subject the violator to points on their license/automobile insurance. When you violate specific laws, points are added to your license. With each added point on your license, not only does your insurance premium increase, but it is possible to lose your license for a period of time. Court requirements and driver improvement programs may also result. Offenses where you may be required to pay fines are broken up into four categories: major traffic violations, major at-fault accidents, minor at-fault accidents, and minor traffic violations. See here.
Turnpikes and Highways (700 CMR):
There are a variety of rules and regulations when it comes to what you can and cannot do on Massachusetts turnpikes and highways. See here.
Restricting the Use of Cellular Phones by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers (76 FR 82179 correcting 76 FR 75470):
This is a federal law, which restricts the use of hand-held mobile telephones by drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). This law is in effect in every state. This law was initially enacted on December 2, 2011 and became effective a little over a month later.