Bicycle Safety First!

August 5, 2015 at 3:06 PM | Posted in Laws, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Riding a bicycle recreationally can be fun; however, being safe should be the priority when you’re out and about on the road.

Here are some safety tips to follow when riding:

  • Always ride with the direction of traffic. It’s Safer. It’s Courteous. It’s the Law.
  • Wear a helmet – It’s the only thing that can protect your head in case of an accident
  • Avoid busy streets –Pick a route that has less traffic and slower traveling vehicles
  • Lights – See and Be Seen. Make sure your bicycle is equipped with reflectors and easily stands out at night-time with lights (head light/rear-lights)
  • Signal your turns – Indicate which direction you intend to go so others around you know you’re about to turn.
  • Avoid using music players or mobile phones – Make sure you stay alert and know what’s happening around you; any distractions will increase your risk.
  • When appropriate, use the whole lane of traffic- Sometimes in certain situations it’s safer to use the whole lane than to travel on the side. Cars that are in intersections can see you better up ahead than on the side where they might overlook you.
  • Wear bright, reflective clothing – Get your bright reflective clothing on so people can see you

Now get out and enjoy the outdoors! Just keep these safety tips in mind and stay safe.

Here is a helpful link for more information:

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/?1dmy&urile=wcm:path:/dmv_content_en/dmv/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffdl37

 

Text With One Hand, Ticket In The Other

July 10, 2013 at 9:27 AM | Posted in Auto, Laws, Regulations, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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In 2010 Massachusetts passed a law banning the following:

  • Cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for bus drivers
  • Cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for drivers younger than 18
  • Texting for all drivers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has awarded Massachusetts $275,000 in federal grant funds to aid in the enforcement of the Safe Driving Law. Massachusetts is now rolling out a pilot project called “Text With One Hand, Ticket In The Other.” This project will allow State Police to observe distracted driver behaviors through proven enforcement strategies.

“Text With One Hand, Ticket In The Other” will take place in two- to four-week intervals during the next two years, with the first installment running through June 29. The communities that are subjects of the pilot program include Andover, Dracut, Dunstable, Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro, and Wilmington.

Most states now have cell phone laws in place that either ban talking, texting, or both. For a complete listing of what is banned in each state go to:  http://www.iihs.org/laws/cellphonelaws.aspx

Massachusetts Laws on Use of Electronic Devices while Driving

August 2, 2012 at 9:02 AM | Posted in Auto, Laws, Regulations, Safety Tips | Leave a comment
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Massachusetts has strict laws with regard to the use of electronic devices while driving. An electronic device is defined as any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing data communication between two or more persons. No one under the age of 18 should be using a telephone while driving. No one should be texting while driving regardless of age.  Reporting an emergency is the only exception to the law.

You may not be aware that “while driving” includes while you are stopped at a red light. A police officer does not have to witness your use of the device in order to be cited. There have been cases where phone records have been reviewed at the time of an accident to discover there were texts received or sent. Fines can be enforced after the fact, or criminal charges filed for bodily injury resulting from improper use of electronic equipment.

Some penalties for improper use of electronic devices while driving are:

Junior Operators:

  • 1st offense – $100, 60 day license suspension and attitudinal course
  • 2nd offense – $250, 180 day suspension
  • 3rd offense – $500, 1 year suspension

Operators 18 and over:

  • 1st offense – $35 fine
  • 2nd offense in 12 months – $75 fine
  • 3rd offense in 12 months – $150 assessment

You may be tempted to send a quick text, but the bottom line is: Don’t Risk It! Do not use your electronic devices at all while behind the wheel, especially when your engine is running. Get into the habit of ignoring your electronic devices while driving. You’ll not only save your record but you could possibly save a life.

If you would like additional information on the Massachusetts safe driving laws, visit www.massdot.state.ma.us

Out-of-State Toll Violation Reciprocity

May 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM | Posted in Auto, Laws, Personal Insurance, Regulations | Leave a comment
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As a measure in enforcing toll violation laws, the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts have signed an agreement to pursue out-of-state toll violators. The DOT/E-Z Pass processing centers for these three states can now communicate unpaid toll violations to each other.

Once the MassDOT/E-Z pass processing center receives notice from New Hampshire or Maine that a Massachusetts resident has a toll violation, a letter will be sent warning the violator to settle their fee within 30 days or their registration and/or license will be marked as non-renewable. If a Massachusetts resident’s record gets marked, the following fees become applicable in addition to the toll violation fee:

  • $20 RMV surcharge for each violation that is marked
  • $10 administration fee for each violation that is marked

To remove the non-renew mark, violators must pay the toll violation to the applicable state and the $20 RMV surcharge and $10 administration fee to the MassDOT. MassDOT/RMV branches cannot accept the toll violation fee; therefore, violators must contact New Hampshire at 603-485-4641 or Maine at 888-682-7277.

To avoid fees and non-renewal marks on our driving records, let’s all take the time to get in line and pay our dime.

New Rule For Mobile Phone Use in Commercial Vehicles

January 12, 2012 at 11:46 AM | Posted in Auto, Laws, Regulations | Leave a comment
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As you recall, Massachusetts passed the safe driving law on September 30, 2010 banning texting while operating a vehicle.  Massachusetts will also enforce the U.S. Department of Transportation’s rule regarding the use of hand-held mobile phones in commercial motor vehicles.

The regulation defines a “commercial motor vehicle” as any vehicle used on public highways in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property with:

  • A gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more, or
  • A vehicle designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation or,
  • A vehicle designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers not for compensation, or
  • A vehicle transporting hazardous materials that requires placarding under the Federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. App.1801-1813).

This rule prohibits the following:

  • Holding a mobile phone (including push to talk phones) to conduct voice communication.
  • Dialing a mobile phone by pressing more than a single button.
  • Reaching for a mobile phone in an unacceptable or unsafe manner.

Please note:  This rule does not prohibit a driver from using a mounted mobile phone that can be easily accessed from the driver’s seat and activated with a single button.  Also, the term mobile phone does not include two way or Citizens Band Radio services.

Penalties will be issued to both the driver AND their employer.  So, whether you operate a commercial vehicle for employment or own a small business, drive safe…your well being and your job could depend on it!

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