Maine drivers traveling to Massachusetts will have to keep their cell phones out of their hands with a ban about to start in the Bay State this weekend.
The handsfree ban will take effect on Sunday and is similar to the restriction already in place in Maine. Only a single swipe or touch is allowed if the phone is in a holder. Texting is not allowed.
The ban subject to a grace period until April because anyone stopped between February 23 and April 1 will only get a warning for a first offense. After that statutory grace period ends, fines will graduate from $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second, and $500 for a third. It is also a primary offense that means you can get pulled over if seen by a police officer.
Cellphone use (whether texting or talking) is completely banned for any driver under aged 18.
Using a cell phone in an emergency is a defense if, for example, the vehicle was disabled, medical attention or police /fire assistance was needed, or if the driver needed to report an accident. But, as if to prove that there’s a different rule for police who enforce the law (and police departments and police chiefs have been campaigning for a law change for some time), they are exempt. Sounds like a basis for a challenge under Equal Protection grounds.
Massachusetts banned texting while driving a while ago, but stopped short of a total ban on cellphone use while driving until Beacon Hill passed the act that was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker in November, 2019.
A recent law change also makes not wearing a seatbelt a primary offense, which means a driver can be pulled over if spotted not wearing one. Previously a driver had to be seen committing another offense first.
The information in this article is not legal advice, nor should be interpreted as such.