135 people have been fined for violating hands-free law in Massachusetts since April 1

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135 people have been fined for violating hands-free law in Massachusetts since April 1

At least one person has already been fined twice for violating the Massachusetts hands-free law since the start of the month.

The law started Feb. 23, but drivers were given a grace period where they would only receive warnings until April 1.

MassDOT said from April 1 until April 13 there were 135 citations issued at $100 a piece. One person was cited for a second offense and received a $250 fine.

No one has been issued a citation for a third offense which is a $500 fine.

Anyone given a second fine must also complete a distracted driving educational program. A third offense and for every subsequent offense is a $500 fine, plus an insurance surcharge and the mandatory completion of distracted driving educational program.

Drivers can only use the phones in hands-free mode and may only touch the devices in order to activate hands-free mode. Using Bluetooth inside vehicles is also allowed.

Drivers under the age of 18 cannot use a cell phone at all while driving.

During the grace period, a total of 9,406 citations – including warnings – were issued, according to MassDOT statistics.

For drivers 18 or over:

· Can only use electronic devices and mobile phones in hands-free mode and are only permitted to touch devices to activate hands-free mode

· Are not permitted to hold or support any electronic device/phone

· Cannot touch phone except to activate the hands-free mode and can only enable when the device is installed or properly mounted to the windshield, dashboard, or center console in a manner that does not impede the operation of the motor vehicle

 Are not allowed to touch device for texting, emailing, apps, video, or internet use

· Activation of GPS navigation is permitted when the device is installed or properly mounted

· Handheld use is allowed only if the vehicle is both stationary and not located in a public travel lane, but is not allowed at red lights or stop signs

· Voice to text and communication to electronic devices is legal only when device is properly mounted; use of headphone (one ear) is permitted

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