Consequences of Distracted Driving in MA

A solution for distracted driving is a nationwide search. Many of us may be guilty of it, but the consequences can be catastrophic when something goes wrong. Massachusetts has laws to protect citizens and hold those who don’t take safety seriously accountable.

Distracted driving can cost lives and dramatically alter the trajectory and outcome of someone’s life. If you have found yourself in a situation where you have been injured, speaking to a reputable Boston car accident attorney with the Cashman Law Firm may be helpful.

Distracted Driving in Massachusetts

Over the last decade, most states have initiated some kind of distracted driving legislation at the state level. In recent reporting years, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) estimates that distracted driving accounts for over 8% of all road deaths. In 2020, Massachusetts passed legislation severely limiting the use of phones while driving.

While some states limit texting specifically, Massachusetts limits any contact with your phone while driving, with few exceptions. According to Massachusetts Code Chapter 122

These exceptions are when the device requires one tap to activate hands-free mode or when you are calling 911 for an emergency. If you are under 18 years old, there are no exceptions, and no electronics are permitted to be used while driving.

Massachusetts Hands-Free Law

The Hands-Free Law in Massachusetts was implemented in February of 2020 and contains the following stipulations for drivers who are over 18 years old:

  • You are permitted to touch your device to activate hands-free mode as long as you are not physically supporting it
  • You may activate GPS or navigation if it is appropriately mounted
  • Voice-to-text is only allowed with appropriate mounting
  • The use of headphones in one ear is permitted

Legal Consequence of Distracted Driving in Massachusetts

There are a few possible outcomes to driving while distracted in Massachusetts. In the best-case scenario of getting caught, you may be fined. In the worst case, you may be in a lethal car accident and face criminal charges under section 24G or homicide by a motor vehicle.

If you have been caught driving distracted, the fines from a citation may be implemented as seen below:

  • 1st Offense: $100 fine
  • 2nd Offense: $250 and a required distracted driving education course.
  • 3rd and subsequent offenses: $500 fine, insurance penalties, and mandated distracted driving course.

If distracted driving has caused an accident you have been involved in, the consequences for everyone involved may be more dire. Beyond the physical and emotional injuries caused by the accident, accountability for the person responsible may include civil charges, criminal charges, or both. Accepting or admitting fault on the civil side may work against the responsible party in the criminal case, just like a guilty conviction in a criminal case may make it easier to recover a higher settlement amount in civil court.

Distracted Driving

As drivers, we know that we should be giving the road our full focus when we drive. While the state of Massachusetts has passed legislation to make driving distracted more costly than simply focusing on driving, it remains a daily occurrence. The consequences may be a relatively small fine, or they could be jail time and someone’s death on your conscience.

Don’t take the risk on your life or someone else’s. If you have experienced injury from reckless behavior, consult an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation.