MA Bans Hand-Held Mobile Phone Use While Driving a Commercial Vehicle

The US Department of Transportation ruled last month that the use of hand-held mobile phones should be banned in commercial motor vehicles. This ruling is now in effect and being enforced in Massachusetts.

“Commercial Motor Vehicle” is defined as…

(a) motor carriers operating commercial motor vehicles and persons who drive commercial motor vehicles as, for, or on behalf of motor carriers, upon the ways of the Commonwealth.

(b) all motor carriers and shippers transporting hazardous materials, under the Hazardous Materials Regulations of the United States Department of Transportation, Parts 171 through 179 of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, by motor vehicles upon the ways of the Commonwealth.

(c) common and contract carriers by motor vehicle, and private carriers of property and passengers by motor vehicle.

(d) a motor vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more used for the transportation of property, or

(e) a motor vehicle designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, or

(f) a motor vehicle used in the transportation of hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding under the Federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. App.1801-1813).

(g) It is the intent that the term “commercial motor vehicle” as used in 540 CMR 14.00 shall have the same meaning as in Part 390.5 of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, as it may be amended, and to the extent there is a conflict between the two at any time, the definition in 49 CFR Part 390.5 shall control.

Note that…

  • This rule does not prohibit a driver from using a mounted mobile phone which can be easily accessed from the driver’s seat and activated with a single button.
  • Driving means operating a commercial vehicle while on a public road, and when stopped in traffic on such a road. Driving does not include instances when the driver is safely parked. Emergency use is permitted.
  • The term mobile telephone does not include two way or Citizens Band Radio services, however the term mobile telephone does include mobile services which are provided for profit, have inter-connected service and is available to a substantial portion of the public.


The Driver is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for 60 days with the second offense in 3 years. (120 days for each subsequent offense within 3 years) Only applies if violation occurred while driving a CMV.