Salem Police Department
95 Margin Street, Salem, MA 01970 •  Non-Emergency Request for Police 978-744-1212 •  Business 978-744-0171 •  In an Emergency, ALWAYS DIAL 911

Mobile Phone / Texting Law (Safe Driving Law)

Safe Driving Law Bans Mobile Device Use While Operating A Motor Vehicle

Effective September 30, 2010
Safe Driving Law Brochure

Sending or Reading Electronic Messages

Operators cannot use any mobile electronic device (see Chapter 155 of the Acts of 2010 for the definition of mobile electronic device) to write, send, or read an electronic message (including text messages, emails, instant messages, or accessing the Internet) while operating a vehicle. This law applies to drivers of all ages.

*Violation Penalties (for all ages):

  • 1st offense - $100 fine
  • 2nd offense - $250 fine
  • 3rd or subsequent offense - $500 fine

Mobile Phone Usage by Operators Under 18

Operators under the age of 18 cannot use any mobile electronic device for any reason while operating a motor vehicle. The only exception is for reporting an emergency.

*Violation Penalties:

  • 1st offense - $100 fine, 60-day license suspension, and a required attitudinal retraining course
  • 2nd offense - $250 fine, 180-day license suspension
  • 3rd or subsequent offense - $500 fine, one-year suspension

Unsafe or Impeded Operation Due to the Use of a Mobile Phone

Operators over the age of 18 can use mobile telephones for calls as long as one hand remains on the steering wheel at all times. However, the use of a mobile telephone must not interfere with driving and can’t be used for texting

*Violation Penalties (for all ages)

  • 1st offense - $35 fine
  • 2nd offense (within 12 months) - $75 fine
  • 3rd offense (within 12 months) - $150 fine
*NOTE: It is not a violation if the vehicle is parked in an area of the road not meant for driving.

Negligent Operation and Injury from Mobile Phone Use

Personal injury or property damage caused by negligent operation of a motor vehicle is a criminal offense. If you crashed because you were using a mobile electronic device, you will face criminal charges. In addition to the criminal charges, you will face loss of license as described below

*Violation Penalties

Junior Operators (under 18 years of age)

  • 1st offense – 180-day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent offense (within three years) – One-year suspension

18 Years or Older

  • 1st offense – 60-day suspension
  • 2nd or subsequent offense (within three years) – One-year suspension

Additional Suspensions

The law repeals the current suspension for 5-surchargeable incidents in a 3-year period and replaces it with a new suspension for 3 surchargeable incidents in 2 years. Violations with an incident date on or after 9/30/2010 can be factored into the new suspension calculation. However, older violations will still be considered a basis for operators that accrue 7 surchargeable incidents. Similar to the current suspension process for 5 surchargeable incidents, operators will have 90 days from the suspension notice to complete a National Safety Council course to avoid going into suspension.

EXAMPLE: An operator receives a citation on October 1, 2010 and is cited for 3 offenses on the ticket: speeding, failure to yield, and a marked lane violation. Under the new law, this driver will receive a notice that they must complete the NSC course in 90 days or have his/her license suspended until completion of the class.

Salem Police Department 95 Margin Street, Salem, MA 01970 •  Non-Emergency Request for Police 978-744-1212 •  Business 978-744-0171 •  In an Emergency, ALWAYS DIAL 911
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