It’s been a long time coming, but it is now illegal to send or read text messages while driving in Massachusetts.

In a law that took effect Thursday, drivers under age 18 are also banned from any cell phone usage while behind the wheel, except during emergencies.

The law also applies to red lights — if you’re the driver of a car, you can’t text.

Breaking down the law, drivers may not:

  • Type/send text messages
  • Read received text messages
  • Check email on their Blackberry, iPhone or other smartphone
  • 18-year-old drivers may not use cell phones at all.

Drivers must also have at least one hand on the wheel at all times.

Junior operators caught using their phones face stiff penalties — $100 fine and 60-day license suspension for first offense, $250/180 days for second, and $500/1 year for subsequent offenses.

See Blast’s full explanation of the safe driving law for more information.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

One Response

  1. Erik Wood

    Business people need to ‘hit the ball over the net’. Teens consider it rude not to reply immediately to texts. Home schedules would grind to a halt without immediate communication. We are conditioned to pursue this level of efficiency but we are all supposed cease this behavior once we sit in our respective 5,000 pound pieces of steel and glass. Anyone can win an argument in a forum like this by saying “Just put the phone away” – but we can see its just not happening.

    I just read that 72% of teens text daily – many text more 3000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook – even with their professors. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away.

    I decided to do something about it after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver . Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple app for smartphones. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER app


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