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General Laws

Section 1. The following words used in this chapter shall have the following meanings, unless a different meaning is clearly apparent from the language or context, or unless such construction is inconsistent with the manifest intention of the legislature:

“Alternative fuel”, an energy source used to power a vehicle that does not meet the definition of fuel in section 1 of chapter 64A and is not diesel motor fuel.

“Alternative fuel vehicle”, a vehicle powered by alternative fuel with the following attributes:

(a) the capability of operating only on alternative fuel;

(b) its original use was commenced with the taxpayer;

(c) acquired by the taxpayer for use or lease, but not for resale;

(d) is designed to use and uses alternative fuel for a significant portion of the total fuel used for propulsion energy for the vehicle; and

(e) when operating on petroleum fuel, the vehicle model’s miles per gallon rating from the United States Environmental Protection Agency exceeds the agency’s corporate average fuel economy requirement for the class of vehicles, whether cars or light trucks, in which the vehicle model is classified. The model specification shall include characteristics that affect fuel economy and for which the United States Environmental Protection Agency issues distinct miles per gallon ratings, such as transmission type and engine size.

“Ambulance”, a motor vehicle equipped and used exclusively for the transportation of sick, injured or wounded persons, or a motor vehicle operated by a society incorporated under the laws of the commonwealth for the prevention of cruelty to animals, or for the care and protection of harmless or suffering animals, and used exclusively for the transportation of stray and neglected, sick, injured or wounded animals.

“Application”, an application by mail or otherwise to the registrar or any agent designated by him for the purpose, upon a blank provided by the registrar, and with which is deposited the fee provided in section thirty-three.

“Articulated bus”, a bus consisting of two units, connected in such a way as to permit the safe and convenient passage of passengers while allowing the bus to bend and have some vertical movement at the pivot point, with the design capability of being locked at the pivot point.

“Auto home”, any motor vehicle originally designed or permanently altered and equipped for human habitation which is not used to transport property other than that property used for human habitation or camping purposes. A motor vehicle designed primarily to transport property which has been temporarily altered or equipped for human habitation shall not be deemed to be an auto home.

“Automobile”, any motor vehicle except a motor cycle.

“Automobile transporter”, any vehicle combination, including a stinger-steered automobile transporter and a low-boy automobile transporter, designed and used specifically for the transport of assembled, capable of being driven, highway vehicles. The highway vehicles being transported may be carried on the power unit on an over-cab rack and behind the cab and on the semi-trailer or low-boy.

“Boat transporter”, any vehicle combination including a stinger-steered boat transporter and a low-boy boat transporter, designed and used specifically for the transport of assembled boats and boat hulls. The boats may be partially disassembled to facilitate transportation. Boats may be carried on the tractor so long as the length and width restrictions of the vehicle and load are not exceeded.

“B-train assembly”, a rigid frame extension attached to the rear frame of a first semi-trailer which allows for a fifth wheel connection point for a second semi-trailer in a tractor semi-trailer-semi-trailer unit.

“B-train assembly unit”, a motor vehicle composed of a tractor, semitrailer and semi-trailer with the semi-trailers connected by a B-train assembly.

“Bus or motor bus”, any motor vehicle operated upon a public way in any city or town for the carriage of passengers for hire in such a manner as to afford a means of transportation similar to that afforded by a railway company by indiscriminately receiving and discharging passengers along the route on which the vehicle is operated or may be running, or for transporting passengers for hire as a business between fixed and regular termini, or transporting passengers for hire under a charter license, special service or school service permit issued by the department.

“Dealer”, any person who is engaged principally and substantially in the business of buying, selling or exchanging motor vehicles or trailers or motor vehicle bodies who maintains a facility dedicated to carrying out said business and, except for a person who exchanges such vehicles on a wholesale basis, is open to the public.

“Department”, the division of highways.

“Electronic message”, a piece of digital communication that is designed or intended to be transmitted between a mobile electronic device and any other electronic device; provided, however, that electronic message shall include, but not be limited to, electronic mail, electronic message, a text message, an instant message, a command or request to access an internet site, or any message that includes a keystroke entry sent between mobile devices.

“Licensed private driver school”, a person, partnership or corporation licensed by the registrar to give instruction for hire in the operation of motor vehicles.

“Farmer”, a person substantially engaged in the occupation of farming which shall include, but not be limited to, farming in all its branches, the cultivation and tillage of the soil, dairying, the production, cultivation, growing and harvesting of any agricultural, aquacultural, floricultural or horticultural commodities, the growing and harvesting of forest products upon forest land, the raising of livestock including horses, the keeping of horses as a commercial enterprise, the keeping and raising of poultry, swine, cattle and other domesticated animals used for food purposes, bees, fur-bearing animals, and any forestry or lumbering operations, performed by a farmer engaged in agriculture or farming as herein defined, or on a farm as an incident to or in conjunction with such farming operations including, but not limited to, preparations for market, delivery to storage or to market or to carriers for transportation to market.

“Farming”, the tillage or use of the soil to raise food for man or beast, the raising of tobacco, or the propagation and growing of trees, shrubs, vines and plants for transplanting and sale.

“Fullmount”, a smaller vehicle mounted completely on the frame of either the first or last vehicle in a saddlemount combination.

“Garage”, any place where five or more motor vehicles are stored or housed at any one time for pay, except only such places in which motor vehicles are kept by the owners thereof without payment for storage.

“Gross vehicle weight rating”, the gross vehicle weight rating established by a manufacturer when applied to a motor vehicle, trailer, semi-trailer or semi-trailer unit, including the gross combination weight rating, if any, when applied to a semi-trailer unit or to a tractor-trailer combination.

“Hands-free mobile telephone”, a hand-held mobile telephone that has an internal feature or function, or that is equipped with a hands-free accessory, whether or not permanently part of such hand-held mobile telephone, by which a user engages in a call without the use of either hand, whether or not the use of either hand is necessary to activate, deactivate or initiate a telephone call.

“Heavy duty platform trailer”, a trailer other than a semi-trailer, especially constructed for transporting machinery, contractors’ equipment, or other heavy or clumsy units. The top surface of the deck or platform of such a vehicle shall not be more than thirty-six inches above the surface on which the wheels of the vehicle rest.

“House trailer”, a vehicle having no motive power of its own, originally designed or permanently altered and equipped for human habitation which is not used to transport property other than property used for human habitation or camping purposes. A trailer designed primarily to transport property which has been temporarily altered or equipped for human habitation shall not be deemed to be a house trailer.

“Hybrid vehicle”, a vehicle (a) which draws propulsion energy from onboard sources of stored energy which are both: (1) an internal combustion or heat engine using combustible fuel; and (2) a rechargeable energy storage system; or (b) which, in the case of a passenger vehicle, medium duty passenger vehicle or light truck: (1) for model year 2002 and later model year vehicles, has received a certificate of conformity under the Clean Air Act and meets or exceeds the equivalent qualifying California low emission vehicle standard adopted under section 243(e)(2) of said Clean Air Act for that make and model year; (2) for model year 2004 and later model vehicles, has received a certificate that the vehicle meets or exceeds the Tier II Bin 5 emission level established in regulations prescribed by the Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency under section 202(i) of said Clean Air Act for that make and model year vehicle; and (3) achieves an increase of 25 per cent fuel efficiency as compared to the average vehicle of its class as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

“Incompetent person”, a person lacking legal qualification, ability or fitness to operate motor vehicles or to hold a certificate of motor vehicle registration.

“Intersecting way”, any way which joins another at an angle, whether or not it crosses the other.

“Like offense”, as used in sections twenty-four and twenty-four D, shall mean any violation of subparagraph (1) of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section twenty-four, or any violation of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of section eight of chapter ninety B or any violation of the comparable laws of any other jurisdiction.

“Like violation”, as used in sections twenty-four and twenty-four D, shall mean any violation of subparagraph (1) of paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section twenty-four, or any violation of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of section eight of chapter ninety B or any violation of the comparable laws of any other jurisdiction.

“Low-boy automobile transporter”, a semi-trailer unit in which the trailer is designed and used specifically for the transport of assembled, capable of being driven, highway vehicles. The top surface of the deck platform of such semi-trailer shall not be more than thirty-six inches above the surface on which the wheels of the vehicle rest.

“Low-boy boat transporter”, a semi-trailer unit in which the trailer is designed and used specifically for the transport of assembled boats and hulls. The top surface of the deck platform of such semi-trailer shall not be more than thirty-six inches above the surface on which the wheels of the vehicle rest.

“Low-speed motor vehicle” or “low-speed vehicle”, a motor vehicle as defined in 49 C.F.R. § 571.3 as a vehicle that is 4-wheeled, whose speed attainable in 1 mile is more than 20 miles per hour and not more than 25 miles per hour on a paved level surface and whose gross vehicle weight rating is less than 3,000 pounds. All low-speed motor vehicles shall comply with the standards established in 49 C.F.R. § 571.500, as amended, and pursuant thereto, shall be equipped with headlamps, front and rear turn signal lamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, an exterior mirror mounted on the driver’s side of the vehicle and either an exterior mirror mounted on the passenger’s side of the vehicle or an interior mirror, a parking brake, a windshield that conforms to the federal standards on glazing materials, a vehicle identification number that conforms to the requirements of 49 C.F.R. pt 565 for such numbers, a Type 1 or Type 2 seat belt assembly conforming to 49 C.F.R. § 571.209, installed at each designated seating position and reflex reflectors; provided, that 1 reflector is red on each side as far to the rear as practicable and 1 reflector is red on the rear. A low speed motor vehicle that meets the requirements of 49 C.F.R. § 571.500, as amended, and is equipped as herein provided, may be registered in the commonwealth, subject to inspection and insurance requirements.

“Manufacturer”, any person who is engaged principally and substantially in the business of manufacturing motor vehicles, trailers, motor vehicle bodies or complete mechanical units for excavating or carrying materials and does not incidentally sell used motor vehicles.

“Mobile construction crane”, any motor vehicle having a construction type crane, including such a motor vehicle which exceeds the dimensional or weight limits imposed by sections nineteen and nineteen A of this chapter or by sections thirty or thirty A of chapter eighty-five.

“Mobile electronic device”, any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing data communication between 2 or more persons, including, without limitation, a mobile telephone, a text messaging device, a paging device, a personal digital assistant, a laptop computer, electronic equipment that is capable of playing a video game or digital video disk, equipment on which digital photographs are taken or transmitted or any combination thereof, or equipment that is capable of visually receiving a television broadcast; provided, however, that mobile electronic device shall not include any audio equipment or any equipment installed, or affixed, either temporarily or permanently, in a motor vehicle for the purpose of providing navigation or emergency assistance to the operator of such motor vehicle or video entertainment to the passengers in the rear seats of such motor vehicle.

“Mobile telephone”, a handheld or portable cellular, analog, wireless, satellite or digital telephone, including a telephone with 2-way radio functionality, capable of sending or receiving telephone communications and with which a user initiates, terminates or engages in a call using at least 1 hand. For the purposes of this chapter, “mobile telephone” shall not include amateur radios operated by those licensed by the Federal Communications Commission to operate such radios, or citizen band radios.

“Motorcycle”, any motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, including any bicycle with a motor or driving wheel attached, except a tractor or a motor vehicle designed for the carrying of golf clubs and not more than four persons, an industrial three-wheel truck, a motor vehicle on which the operator and passenger ride within an enclosed cab, or a motorized bicycle.

“Motorcycle split service brake system”, a motorcycle brake system consisting of two or more subsystems actuated by a single control designed so that a leakage-type failure of a pressure component in a single subsystem, except structural failure of a housing that is common to all subsystems, shall not impair the operation of the other subsystems.

“Motorized bicycle”, a pedal bicycle which has a helper motor, or a non-pedal bicycle which has a motor, with a cylinder capacity not exceeding fifty cubic centimeters, an automatic transmission, and which is capable of a maximum speed of no more than thirty miles per hour.

“Motorized scooter”, any 2 wheeled tandem or 3 wheeled device, that has handlebars, designed to be stood or sat upon by the operator, powered by an electric or gas powered motor that is capable of propelling the device with or without human propulsion. The definition of “motorized scooter” shall not include a motorcycle or motorized bicycle or a 3 wheeled motorized wheelchair.

“Motor vehicles”, all vehicles constructed and designed for propulsion by power other than muscular power including such vehicles when pulled or towed by another motor vehicle, except railroad and railway cars, vehicles operated by the system known as trolley motor or trackless trolley under chapter one hundred and sixty-three or section ten of chapter five hundred and forty-four of the acts of nineteen hundred and forty-seven, vehicles running only upon rails or tracks, vehicles used for other purposes than the transportation of property and incapable of being driven at a speed exceeding twelve miles per hour and which are used exclusively for the building, repair and maintenance of highways or designed especially for use elsewhere than on the travelled part of ways, wheelchairs owned and operated by invalids and vehicles which are operated or guided by a person on foot; provided, however, that the exception for trackless trolleys provided herein shall not apply to sections seventeen, twenty-one, twenty-four, twenty-four I, twenty-five and twenty-six. The definition of “Motor vehicles” shall not include motorized bicycles. In doubtful cases, the registrar may determine whether or not any particular vehicle is a motor vehicle as herein defined. If he determines that it should be so classified, he may require that it be registered under this chapter, but such determination shall not be admissible as evidence in any action at law arising out of the use or operation of such vehicle previous to such determination.

“Non-resident”, any person whose legal residence is not within the commonwealth.

“Number plate”, the sign or marker furnished by the registrar on which is displayed the register number or mark of a motor vehicle assigned to such motor vehicle by the registrar.

“Operator”, any person who operates a motor vehicle or trackless trolley.

“Owner”, a person, other than a lien holder, having title to a vehicle. The term includes a person entitled to the use and possession of a vehicle subject to a security interest in another person, but excludes a lessee under a lease not intended as security and a bailee of any description; but, the term shall include the commonwealth and its political subdivisions for the purpose of registering a vehicle that is on loan from the United States or from a motor vehicle manufacturer or distributor.

“Owner-contractor”, any person who is not a manufacturer, dealer or repairman who owns a fleet of ten or more vehicles, trailers, special mobile equipment, mobile construction cranes or combination thereof, which is used or leased exclusively by him in his principal business and who maintains an establishment with facilities for the repair, alteration or equipment of such vehicles or trailers.

“Persons”, wherever used in connection with the registration of a motor vehicle, all persons who own or control such vehicles as owners, or for the purpose of sale, or for renting, as agents, salesmen or otherwise.

“Police officer” or “officer”, any constable or other officer authorized to make arrest or serve process, provided he is in uniform or displays his badge of office.

“Register number”, the letter or letters, mark or marks, arabic numeral or numerals, or combinations thereof assigned by the registrar to a motor vehicle or trailer.

“Registrar”, the registrar of motor vehicles.

“Repairman”, any person who is principally and substantially engaged in the business of repairing, altering, reconditioning, equipping or towing motor vehicles or trailers for the public and who maintains an established place of business, as defined in this section.

“Retread or recap”, any tire, designed for use on motor vehicles or trailers, which has had its original tread removed and replaced with new tread rubber.

“Other than first quality”, any tire which has been sold or designated by the manufacturer thereof as not meeting its standard quality or appearance specifications for such brand of tire. Nothing herein shall be deemed to authorize the offering or sale of tires which do not meet any minimum safety standards established by or under the laws of the commonwealth or of the United States which may be applicable to such tires.

“Right to operate”, the privilege of operating motor vehicles on the ways of the commonwealth conferred by a license issued under section eight, a learner’s permit issued under section eight B, or by reciprocity to nonresidents under sections three and ten, including the right of residents of the commonwealth who are at least sixteen years of age to apply for such license or learner’s permit.

“Routes of reasonable access”, routes of access, as designated by the department as provided in section nineteen G, between the National Network, as defined in section nineteen F, and such terminals, facilities for food, fuel, repair and rest as are located more than one road-mile in distance from the National Network.

“Saddlemount combination”, a combination of vehicles in which a truck tractor tows one or more trucks or truck tractors, each connected by a saddle to the frame or fifth wheel of the vehicle in front of it. The saddle is a mechanism which connects the front axle of the towed vehicle to the frame or fifth wheel of the vehicle in front and functions like a fifth wheel kingpin connection. When two vehicles are towed in this manner the combination is called a double saddlemount combination and when three vehicles are so towed the combination is called a triple saddlemount combination. Such combinations may include one fullmount.

“School bus”, any motor vehicle used for the transportation of school pupils and school personnel to and from school or for the transportation of children enrolled in a camp or recreational program, while so used, but not including any such motor vehicle used for not more than five days in case of emergency or a motor vehicle while also used for the common carriage of the public under a certificate and permit issued under sections seven and eight of chapter one hundred and fifty-nine A, or a motor vehicle having permanent seating accommodations for and carrying not more than eight persons in addition to the operator, or a motor vehicle used to transport vocational students participating in a work project to and from a work site and having permanent seating accommodations for not more than fourteen persons in addition to the operator.

“School pupil”, any person enrolled in any school, kindergarten through grade twelve, or enrolled in any program for child care services, or in any program for children with special needs as defined in section one of chapter seventy-one B, or in any organized day or summer camp program or any activity supported by said schools.

“Semi-trailer”, a trailer so designed and used in combination with a tractor that some part of the weight of such trailer and that of its load rests upon and is carried by, the tractor.

“Semi-trailer unit”, a motor unit composed of a tractor and a semi-trailer.

“Stinger-steered automobile transporter”, an automobile transporter configured as a semi-trailer combination wherein the fifth wheel is located on a drop frame located behind and below the rear-most axle of the power unit.

“Stinger-steered boat transporter”, a boat transporter configured as a semi-trailer combination wherein the fifth wheel is located on a drop frame located behind and below the rear-most axle of the power unit.

“Student”, every person enrolled full time in a school, college or university, but not including any fully registered medical practitioner or any person enrolled in a school, college or university for the purpose of pursuing advanced or postgraduate studies or on the job training under any fellowship program, grant or other program which provides such person with any salary or compensation beyond the actual tuition costs of such schooling. In doubtful cases, the registrar may determine whether or not this definition applies.

“Tandem unit”, a motor vehicle composed of a tractor, semi-trailer and trailer.

“Terminal”, any location where: freight either originates, terminates, or is handled in the transportation process; or commercial motor carriers maintain operating facilities.

“Truck-trailer boat transporter”, a boat transporter combination consisting of a truck towing a trailer using typically a ball and socket connection and where the trailer axle is located substantially at the trailer center of gravity, rather than at the rear of the trailer, but so as to maintain a downward force on the trailer tongue.

“Thickly settled or business district”, the territory contiguous to any way which is built up with structures devoted to business, or the territory contiguous to any way where the dwelling houses are situated at such distances as will average less than two hundred feet between them for a distance of a quarter of a mile or over.

“Trackless trolley”, an electrically operated, rubber wheeled vehicle receiving power from a fixed overhead electrical source by way of a trolley mechanism.

“Tractor”, a motor vehicle with or without a carrying capacity of its own but which is primarily designed and used for drawing another vehicle or for industrial or agricultural purposes.

“Trailer”, any vehicle or object on wheels and having no motive power of its own, but which is drawn by, or used in combination with, a motor vehicle. It shall not include a pole dolly or pole dickey, so called, nor a pair of wheels commonly used as an implement for other purposes than transportation, nor a portable, collapsible or separate two wheel tow dolly limited only to the purpose of transporting or towing a registered vehicle, nor farm machinery or implements when used in connection with the operation of a farm or estate, nor any vehicle when towed behind a farm tractor and used in connection with the operation of a farm or estate.

“Antique motor car”, any motor vehicle over twenty-five years old which is maintained solely for use in exhibitions, club activities, parades and other functions of public interest and which is not used primarily for the transportation of passengers or goods over any way, provided that the application for registration thereof is accompanied by an affidavit upon a form provided by the registrar which shall include a statement of the age and intended use of such motor vehicle.

“Transporter”, any person principally and substantially engaged in the business of transporting or delivering motor vehicles under their own power not owned by him and who possesses a valid license for said business issued by the department of telecommunications and energy, or any person or agent thereof, licensed to engage in the business of financing the purchase of or insuring motor vehicles who is required to take into possession such motor vehicles by foreclosure or subrogation of title.

“Way”, any public highway, private way laid out under authority of statute, way dedicated to public use, or way under the control of park commissioners or body having like powers.

“Certificate of inspection”, a serially numbered, adhesive sticker, device, or symbol, as may be prescribed by the registrar, indicating a motor vehicle has met the inspection requirements established by the registrar for issuance of a certificate. The registrar may prescribe the use of one or more categories of certificate of inspection.

“Certificate of rejection”, a serially numbered, adhesive sticker, device or symbol, as may be prescribed by the registrar indicating a motor vehicle has failed to meet the inspection requirements as established by the registrar.

“Certificate of waiver”, a serially numbered device or symbol, as may be prescribed by the registrar, indicating that the requirement of passing the inspection has been waived for a vehicle pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.

“Certified inspector”, an individual certified by the commissioner as properly trained to perform an emissions inspection as delineated by the manufacturer of the emissions analyzer.

“Child Passenger restraint”, a specifically designed seating system which meets the United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, as established in 49 C.F.R. 571.213, which is either permanently affixed to a motor vehicle or is affixed to such vehicle by a safety belt or a universal attachment system.

“Commissioner”, commissioner of the department of environmental protection.

“Fleet inspection station”, a proprietorship, partnership or corporation which owns or maintains a fleet of at least twenty-five motor vehicles and maintains a garage for the repair and maintenance of those vehicles and is licensed by the registrar to perform the inspections on said motor vehicles.

“Inspection station”, a proprietorship, partnership, or corporation licensed by the registrar to perform inspections on motor vehicles.

“Licensee”, a fleet inspection station or inspection station.

“Referee station”, a location designated by the registrar to verify the accuracy of inspections performed by licensed inspection stations and to grant certificates of waiver.

“Special mobile equipment”, a motor vehicle which is principally designed to conduct excavations or lift building materials at a public or private construction site and is operated on a way for the sole purpose of transportation to or from said construction site and has a gross vehicle weight of at least twelve thousand pounds. This definition shall not include a motor vehicle which is designed to carry passengers, or any load, on a way.

“Established place of business”, a permanently enclosed premises owned or leased exclusively by a repairman which is open to the general public. Unless said business is limited solely to the towing of motor vehicles or trailers for the public, said repairman shall possess the necessary tools and facilities reasonably necessary to conduct a repair business. If more than one business is located within the same building or structure and the other businesses are not owned or controlled by the same principals, the repair business shall maintain a separate and exclusive entrance.

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