Are Police Exempt From The Massachusetts Hands Free Law?
The Massachusetts "Hands Free" Law went into effect on Feb. 23, 2020 right before the Covid-19 pandemic. I only say that because law enforcement officers were hesitant to pull people over for violating the new law to avoid potential exposure to the virus.
Because of this, in my opinion, I believe people forget about the then newly enacted law. By now, however, most Massachusetts residents know about and abide by the hands free law.
Here's a little reminder about what's in that law...
Massachusetts law prohibits operators of motor vehicles from using any electronic device, including mobile telephones, unless the device is used in hands-free mode.
- Can only use electronic devices and mobile phones in hands-free mode and are only permitted to touch devices to activate hands-free mode.
- 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.
- 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 or a bicycle 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. -mass.gov
BUT WHAT ABOUT POLICE OFFICERS? WHILE ON DUTY, DO THEY HAVE TO ABIDE BY THE HANDS FREE LAW?
The reason for this post is because I was passing an officer in traffic today and he had his cell phone up to his ear while driving his cruiser. By no means was I questioning the officer and what he was doing, I was just curious if the law applied to law enforcement officers.
They can, and here is why.
- Most often, they’re using the device for work-related reasons
- They use phones and other devices to help reduce congestion on their vehicle radio
- They are trained professionals well aware of the dangers that come with using their device while driving -getjerry.com
If an officer is found liable for an accident, however, while not in hands free mode, they may be on the hook.