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Texting Ban to go into Effect in Massachusetts

On October 1, 2010, the new law on texting while driving will go into effect. The Safe Driving Act, enacted by the legislature in June and signed into law by Governor Patrick on July 2, 2010, makes Massachusetts the 29th state to ban texting while driving. The fine is $100 for adults but $100 plus 60 days loss of license for juniors; the fines and time loss of license increases with each offense. The law forbids all drivers under the age of 18 to use cell phones. We have previously published an article on texting while driving.

Significantly, the danger to the driver and others increases dramatically when the driver’s attention is distracted. Drivers should know that lawyers who represent victims of motor vehicle accidents will often use information about such “distracted drivers” against them in civil cases. Further, insurance rates will increase for those found at fault for causing accidents.
 
The new law, Chapter 155 of the Laws of 2010, amends Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90 in numerous ways. First, it defines “electronic message” to include texting, use of the internet, or other “keystroke” entry systems.
 
The law requires the registrar of motor vehicles and the highway safety division to “develop and implement a public awareness campaign” for juniors and adults. We view this portion of the law critical in teaching safety.
The new law also requires all citizens over 75 to renew their licenses in person.