New Massachusetts Headlight Law Effective April 7, 2015

ma headlight law

Important news for Massachusetts drivers – A new law goes into effect on April 7th regarding the required use of headlights. This is a surchargeable violation, so your insurance can go up if you do not comply! Here’s what you need to know about this new law.

What the New Massachusetts Headlight Law Requires

According to this new Massachusetts driving law, you must have your headlights on when driving conditions require the use of your windshield wipers. So, if you need your wipers (i.e. on a sunny but rainy day), your headlights must be on too. A police officer can pull you over for failing to comply.

Penalties for Failing to Comply

You can receive a ticket for failing to comply with this new Massachusetts headlight law. The ticket amount itself will be nominal. The more significant factor is that it is considered a minor surchargeable traffic violation. Surcharges result in increased insurance premiums at your next renewal. So, failing to obey this new law can cost you significant money in increased insurance rates, which no one is ever happy about. To save you the headache and additional expense, make it a habit to turn on your headlights whenever you turn on your windshield wipers!

UPDATE July 1, 2015 – Failure to turn on your headlights when your wipers are in use is no longer a surchargeable offense!

The Language of the Law

“Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

Section 15 of chapter 85 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:— A vehicle, whether stationary or in motion, on a public way, shall have attached to it headlights and taillights which shall be turned on by the vehicle operator and so displayed as to be visible from the front and rear during the period of 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise; provided, however, that such headlights and taillights shall be turned on by the vehicle operator at all other times when, due to insufficient light or unfavorable atmospheric conditions, visibility is reduced such that persons or vehicles on the roadway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet or when the vehicle’s windshield wipers are needed; provided further, that this section shall not apply to a vehicle which is designed to be propelled by hand; and provided further, that a vehicle carrying hay or straw for the purpose of transporting persons on a hayride shall display only electrically operated lights which shall be 2 flashing amber lights to the front and 2 flashing red lights to the rear, each of which shall be at least 6 inches in diameter and mounted 6 feet from the ground.”