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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 8M: Use of mobile telephone, hands-free mobile telephone or mobile electronic device by person under 18 years of age while operating motor vehicle prohibited; penalties;affirmative defenses

[ First paragraph effective until February 23, 2020. For text effective February 23, 2020, see below.]

  Section 8M. No person under 18 years of age shall use a mobile telephone, hands-free mobile telephone or mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on any public way. For the purposes of this section, a junior 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.

[ First paragraph as amended by 2019, 122, Secs. 3 and 4 effective February 23, 2020. See 2019, 122, Sec. 15. For text effective until February 23, 2020, see above.]

  No person under 18 years of age shall hold in their hand or use a mobile telephone, hands-free mobile telephone or mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle on any public way. For the purposes of this section, a junior 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 by a motor vehicle or bicycle.

  A junior operator who violates the preceding paragraph shall be punished by a fine of $100 and shall have his license or permit suspended for 60 days for a first offense and shall not be eligible for license reinstatement until he also completes a program selected by the registrar that encourages attitudinal changes in young drivers; for a second offense by a fine of $250 and shall have his license or permit suspended for 180 days; and for a third or subsequent offense by a fine of $500 and shall have his license or permit suspended for 1 year.

  It shall be an affirmative defense for a junior operator to produce evidence that the use of a mobile telephone, hands-free mobile telephone or mobile electronic device that is the basis of the alleged violation was for emergency purposes. For the purpose of this section, an emergency shall mean that the junior operator used the hands-free mobile telephone or mobile electronic device to communicate with another to report any of the following: (i) that the motor vehicle was disabled; (ii) that medical attention or assistance was required; (iii) that police intervention, fire department or other emergency service was necessary for the personal safety of the operator or a passenger; or (iv) that a disabled vehicle or an accident was present in the public way.

[ Fourth paragraph effective until February 23, 2020. For text effective February 23, 2020, see below.]

  A penalty under this subsection shall not be a surchargeable offense under section 113B of chapter 175.

[ Fourth paragraph as amended by 2019, 122, Sec. 5 effective February 23, 2020. See 2019, 122, Sec. 15. For text effective until February 23, 2020, see above.]

  A first or second offense under this section shall not be a surchargeable incident under section 113B of chapter 175 or under a motor vehicle liability policy as defined in section 34A that is issued pursuant to said chapter 175; provided, however, that a third or subsequent offense under this section shall be a surchargeable incident under said section 113B of said chapter 175 or under a motor vehicle liability policy as defined in said section 34A that is issued pursuant to said chapter 175.