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In Massachusetts, all drivers and passengers younger than 13 years old must wear appropriate seat belts. The following exceptions apply to a certain category of drivers and passengers:
- Drivers and passengers with mental or physical condition that makes it hard to use a seat belt.
- Passengers and drivers in a vehicle that was manufactured before July 1966.
- All drivers operating a tractor, bus, taxi or truck. For the truck, it must have a gross weight of at least 18, 000 pounds. Postal workers on duty.
- Emergency vehicle drivers.
For more information about the seat belt laws, read Chapter 3 of the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual.
Massachusetts Child Car Seat Laws
Chapter 3 of the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual also provides more information about child car seat laws in Massachusetts. The main features include:
- Any child younger than 8 years old or shorter than 57 inches must ride in a federally approved child safety seat.
- Any child taller than 57 inches or older than 8 years old must wear an appropriate safety belt.
Cell Phones and Texting
All drivers younger than 18 years old, operating on Massachusetts public roads, are banned from using mobile devices while driving. All drivers in Massachusetts, regardless of age and license status, are banned from sending or reading texts while driving.
- Motorcycle Riders: All motorcycle riders in Massachusetts, regardless of age and license status, must wear helmets while riding. These helmets must meet the standards of Massachusetts DOT. The same applies to operators of motorized scooter and scooters.
- ATV Riders: According to the Massachusetts Recreation Vehicle Safety Laws, all ATV riders must wear helmets that have been approved federally.
- Bicycle Riders: All bicycle riders younger than 16 years old are required by law to wear helmets when riding on public right-of-ways, public ways and bicycle paths.
For more information on bicycle-related laws, read the General Laws of Massachusetts Chapter 85 Section 11B.
You must turn on headlights:
- 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise.
- When the weather can’t allow you to see ahead.
- When you can see clearly ahead because of other vehicles or pedestrians.
For more guidelines on how to use headlights, read the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual under chapter 3.
Unattended Motor Vehicles
If you intend to leave your vehicle unattended for a certain time, it is recommended you:
- Turn off the engine.
- Set the brakes.
- Lock the ignition.
- Remove the key.
For more information on leaving a vehicle unattended, read the General Laws of Massachusetts chapter 90 Section 16A.
Unattended Children and Pets
In Massachusetts, it is illegal to leave a child or pet unattended in a vehicle at any given moment. The following are risks associated with leaving a child or a pet unattended in a car:
- Injury and death if the weather is very hot or cold.
- Petnapping or Kidnapping.
- Vehicle tampering by the kid or pet.
Reporting Unsafe or Drunk Drivers
If you suspect a drunk driver driving dangerously, report him or her to the law enforcement officers. If you suspect a driver whose physical or medical condition makes their driving ability dangerous, report them to the RMV. Fill in the Request for Medical Evaluation Form and send it to the address listed below: Medical Affairs Branch P.O. Box 55889 Boston, MA 02205 This form normally asks you to fill in the driver’s personal information. If you don’t know the personal details of unsafe driver, report to the RMV in person or call your local police officers.
Massachusetts Safety Laws
The Massachusetts safety laws are not static. They are subject to change. The following resources can help you stay current with these laws:
- General Laws of Massachusetts.
- The Massachusetts Driver's Manual.
- RMV locations.
- The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) customer service.
- Massachusetts State Police and other law enforcement agencies.