Massachusetts Fines and Punishment for Texting And/or Talking On a Cell Phone While Driving

January 31, 2011

 There is a law as of September 10, 2010 that says no person can text while driving in Massachusetts.

No person under 18 years old can use a cell phone at all for either talking or texting.

Only people who are over 18 can use a cell phone for speaking only and must have the other hand on the steering wheel.

There are hefty fines, and it will definitely ruin your whole day it you are caught doing it.
Texting while driving or just reading the text as well as programming the GPS while driving accounts for a large number of road accidents.
The specifics of Governor Deval Patrick's new law concerning texting as of September 10, 2010 are:

Junior Operator:

It is a civil offense, so there is no insurance surcharge.

Definition of mobile electronic devices that pertain to this law:
Mobile telephone, text messaging device, paging device, PDA, laptop computer, electronic equipment capable of playing video games or video disks or can take and or transmit digital photographs or can receive a television broadcast.


Mobile electronic device does not include any equipment permanently or temporarily installed to provide navigation, emergency assistance or rear seat video entertainment. Reporting an emergency is the only exception and drivers are encouraged to pull over and stop the vehicle to report the emergency.

Junior operator

1st offense gets the junior errant driver a $100 fine and a 60 day license suspension along with an attitudinal course.
2nd offense Fine for the junior driver jumps up to $250 and a 180 day license suspension
3rd or more offenses fine for the junior driver is 5 times higher than the fine for a 1st offense at $500 and to top it off you get a 1 year drivers license suspension

Use of a Mobile Phone by a Public Transport Motor Vehicle Operator is a civil Offense and there is no insurance surcharge, but there is a hefty $500 fine for each offense  

Use of a Mobile Phone by a Public Transport Non-Motor Vehicle Operator ex: MBTA Trolley:
that again is a civil offense and carries no insurance surcharge, but there is the $500 fine assessed for each violation.

18 years old and over - Improper Use of a Mobile Phone.

But here are the rules that you have to play by:
One hand must be on the steering wheel at all times, and no use of the device can interfere with driving.

Texting is still not allowed for the over 18 crowd


1st offense is a $100.00 fine.
2nd offense is a $250.00 fine.
3rd offense the fine is $500.00  
Even if you are stopped in traffic! Operators cannot use any mobile telephone or hand-held device capable of accessing the Internet to write, send, or read an electronic message including text messages, emails, and instant messages or to access the Internet while operating a vehicle. Law applies even if the vehicle is stopped in traffic.

Negligent Operation & Injury from Mobile Phone Use

So you are using the phone and get into an accident.
Here is where the criminal offense kicks in and you get an insurance surcharge
Junior Operators License Suspensions:
1st time offender gets a 180 day license suspension

2 or more offenses within 3 years result in a 1 year drivers license suspension and a $500 reinstatement fee.

18 and over suspensions are:

1st offense will get you a 60 day license suspension.
2nd or more offenses within a 3 year period gets you a 1 year suspension and a $500 license reinstatement fee. Yikes!
That is getting a bit pricey, but you really shouldn't think that the only reason not to do the crime is the fines.
You should think about the idea that you may get killed or kill someone due to your negligence.

If you want to dig through the details and get this sort of info you can go to the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles Website.
Also see the fines involved for such naughty behavior here:

The Author - Roger Chartier