Town of Nahant


Welcome to our Massachusetts CELL PHONE Law Page

On September 30, 2010 new laws governing the use of mobile cell phones while driving will take effect. Please carefully review the details below. Watch this page for further infomation and updates.

Massachusetts General Law: Statute G.L. c. 90, § 8M
Use of Mobile Phone or Electronic Device by Operator Who is Under 18

Penalty Structure: 1st offense: $100 CMVI; RMV 60 day suspension and attitude course
2nd offense: $250 CMVI; 180 day suspension
3rd offense: $500 CMVI; 1 year suspension

This law covers any mobile phone, including a hands-free device, and any mobile electronic device (including texting device, a pager, PDA, laptop, video games and digital cameras, etc.)

Only Exception: Emergency use for disabled vehicle or accident, medical attention, police/emergency services needed.

Penalty: CMVI $100

Massachusetts General Law: Statute G.L. c. 90, § 12A
Mobile Phone Use or Texting by Public Transportation Operator

Covers all buses, trains, vessels and vehicles owned by MBTA, MassPort, Steamship Authority. Fact that unit is hands-free is no defense.

Only Exceptions: Use permitted by written job guidelines.
Emergency used (same definition above).

Penalty: CMVI $500

Massachusetts General Law: Statute G.L. c. 90, § 13
Mobile Phone Use as an Adult Operator Without Having at Least One Hand on the Steering Wheel

Penalty Structure: 2nd offense within 12 months: $75
3rd offense within 12 months: $150

Penalty: CMVI $35

Massachusetts General Law: Statute G.L. c. 90, § 13B
Texting while operating a vehicle. The operator used an electronic device or mobile phone to manually compose, send or read an electronic message

Penalty Structure: 2nd offense CMVI $250
3rd offense CMVI $500

Penalty: CMVI $100

Massachusetts General Law: Statute G.L. c. 90, § 24(2)(a)
Negligent Operation and Injury from Mobile Phone Use

Elements: While committing any of the offenses above:
-Using a mobile phone as a minor (§ 8M);
-Using a phone or texting as a public transportation operator (§ 12A); or
-Sending or receiving a “text” (§ 13B)
-The operator drove negligently so that the lives and safety of the public might be endangered; and
-Caused injury to some other person, vehicle or property.

Right of Arrest: While no statutory arrest exists for negligent operation, case law states it constitutes a breach of the peace justifying warrantless arrest when observed by an officer. Comm. v. Ceria, 13 Mass. App. Ct. 230 (1982).

Penalty Structure: HC NLT 2 weeks, NMT 2 years; and/or Fine NLT $20, NMT $200.
$250 head injury surcharge. No CWOF without judge’s written finding that it is “in the interests of justice”
RMV revocation: 60 days for 1st offense; 1 year for subsequent offenses within 3 years. If junior operator: 180 days for 1st offense; 1 year for subsequent offenses within 3 years. May revoke registration if defendant is exclusive owner of vehicle.

Penalty: Crime

Massachusetts General Law: Statute G.L. c. 90, § 22I
Elderly Drivers:

Mandatory in-person license renewals for drivers 75 and older. The driver must take an eye test at the registry branch or submit a “vision certificate” from an optometrist or opthalmologist.

New procedure to request medical evaluation of motorist. G.L. c. 90, § 22I creates a procedure, known by registry officials as the “Complaint Medical.” Section 22I authorizes a police officer or a health care provider to request that the registry conduct an evaluation of an operator to assess his or her ability to safely drive a motor vehicle.

The written request must present “reasonable cause to believe” that the motorist is physically or medically incapable of safe operation, or that the motorist has a “cognitive or functional impairment” affecting safe operation.

This report may not be based solely on a driver’s age.

So long as their reports are made in “good faith,” officers and health care providers are immune from civil liability. They are also immune if they fail to report.
The registry must conduct its review of the operator’s capacity no later than 30 days from the receipt of the report. The reports are confidential, not public records.


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