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If the first week is any indication, come April 1st, police will be handing out a lot of “hands free” fines

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Massachusetts State Police were busy giving out a lot of warnings in the first week of the “hands free” driving law.

MSP Troopers issued 578 warnings to drivers violating the law.

Under the new law, operators of motor vehicles and bicycles cannot use an electronic device unless the device is being used in hands-free mode. Operators cannot read or view text or look at images or video, unless what is being viewed on the device is helping with navigation and the device is mounted in an appropriate location. They also cannot make phone calls unless they are able to do so without holding the phone, utilizing technology such as Bluetooth.

The new law permits the use of electronic devices if they are being used in response to an emergency, necessary for first responders to do their jobs. It also permits use if operators are stationary and not in active lanes of travel.

Drivers who are under 18 are not allowed to use any electronic devices. All phone use while driving is illegal, including use in hands-free mode.

Come April 1st, punishment for violating the hands-free law includes a $100 fine for a first offense, $250 fine for a second offense and $500 fine for a third or subsequent offense. A third or subsequent offense will count as a surchargeable incident. Operators who commit a second or subsequent offense are required to complete an educational program focused on distracted driving prevention.

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