SECTION 1. Section 13 of chapter 90 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 6, the words “mobile telephone” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- hands-free mobile telephone.
SECTION 2. Section 13B of said chapter 90, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (a) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-
(a) No operator of a motor vehicle shall use a mobile telephone, or any handheld device capable of accessing the internet, to compose, send or read an electronic message or to access a mobile application while operating a motor vehicle, except to perform a single tap or swipe to activate, deactivate or initiate hands free navigation. For the purposes of this section, an operator shall not be considered to be operating a motor vehicle if the vehicle is stationary and not located in a part of the public way intended for travel.
SECTION 3. Said section 13B of said chapter 90, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting the following subsection:-
(a ½ ) An operator of a motor vehicle shall use a mobile telephone or mobile electronic device only if said telephone or device is being used as a hands-free mobile telephone. It shall be an affirmative defense for an operator under this section to produce evidence that the use of a mobile telephone that is the basis of the alleged violation was in the case of an emergency. For the purpose of this paragraph, an emergency shall mean that the operator needed to communicate with another to report any of the following: (1) that the vehicle or vessel was disabled; (2) that medical attention or assistance was required on the vehicle or vessel; (3) that police intervention, fire department or other emergency services were necessary for the personal safety of a passenger or to otherwise ensure the safety of the public; or (4) that a disabled vehicle or an accident was present on a roadway.
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