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Ban on Cellphone Use While Driving About To Affect Drivers in Bay State From Sunday

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.

Stock photo: Pixabay

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.


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