Northbridge MA Police Department

Patrol / Traffic

Traffic Safety
Speed and traffic enforcement 
As part of our normal patrol operations, the Northbridge Police Department enforces all laws governing the safe operation of motor vehicles. All marked patrol units are equipped with state-of-the-art radar units to monitor and deter speed limit violators. All patrol cars are now equipped with laptop computers that can communicate with the police department, or state agencies.
Speed Display Trailer as an additional deterrent and safety measure, the Northbridge Police department purchased in June of 2000 a digital SPEED TRAILER.The 900 pound trailer is towed by a police vehicle to an area in town that needs additional enforcement and set up for monitoring speed. While the speeds displayed on the message board are accurate, this trailer is not designed to take photos of passing cars or used to issue summonses.Use of this sign, followed with periodic enforcement, has proven to be an effective means of making drivers more aware of their speed. As a reminder, most town streets and roadways have a posted speed limit of 30 MPH.If you feel a need for additional enforcement on your street, please contact the police department.

Graduated Licensing Law (Effective Date: November 4, 1998)

Learner’s Permits

Effective on November 4, 1998, you may not operate a motor vehicle with a Learner’s Permit unless you are accompanied by an operator, duly licensed in his or her state of residence, who is 21 years of age or over, who has had at least one (1) year of driving experience and who is occupying a seat beside you. Also, as the holder of a Learner’s Permit, you may not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 12:00 AM (midnight) and 5:00 AM unless you are at least 18 years of age or are accompanied by your parent or guardian, who is a validly licensed operator with at least one (1) year of driving experience. These provisions will apply whether you obtained your Learner’s Permit before or after the effective date. (NOTE: if you are over 18 when you obtain your Learner’s Permit, you will be subject to the requirement that any licensed operator providing behind-the-wheel instruction must be at least 21 years of age.)

The Junior Operator License Law

Any motor vehicle operator or motorcyclist between the ages of 16 1/2 and 18 is considered a Junior Operator. The Junior Operator Law has several requirements and restrictions that significantly affect the operation of a motor vehicle by a person who has a Junior Operator’s License (JOL). The basic purpose of the law is to provide new drivers supervised opportunities in which to develop good driving skills, while keeping those drivers free of the possible distractions caused by friends under age 18 who are present while the drivers are behind the wheel.

Requirements to Obtain a JOL

An applicant for a driver’s license between ages 16 1/2 and 18 must comply with several requirements to obtain a JOL:
Have a valid learner’s permit for at least six consecutive months before taking the road test. (Any suspension will invalidate the permit and the six months will start to run anew when the suspension is lifted.)

Maintain a clean driving record for at least six consecutive months before taking the road test.
Successfully complete a Registrar-approved driver education and training program, which includes 30 hours of classroom instruction; 12 hours of in-car, behind-the-wheel training; and six hours of in-car experience observing other student drivers.
Complete at least an additional 40 hours of supervised, behind-the-wheel driving as shown by a certified statement provided by a parent or guardian. The RMV will accept 30 hours of driving supervised by a parent or guardian if the applicant completed a driver skills development program.
A parent or guardian must participate in two hours of instruction on the driver’s education curriculum (unless they have participated within the past five years).
Pass a final exam to have a driver’s education certificate electronically filed with the RMV.

JOL License Restrictions

The following restrictions apply to all Junior Operators:
You may not operate a motor vehicle within the first six months after receiving your JOL while any person under age 18 is in the vehicle (other than you or an immediate family member), unless you are accompanied by a person who is at least 21 years old, has at
least one year of driving experience, holds a valid driver’s license from Massachusetts or another state, and is occupying a seat beside you. General Rule: The passenger restriction that applies to you as a JOL holder under age 18 is lifted once you complete the six-month period (or the portion that applies to you) or you reach age 18, whichever occurs first.
The six-month passenger restriction period will stop running, temporarily, during any suspension. When your JOL is reinstated, you will still have to complete the remainder of the six-month restriction period that existed at the beginning of the
suspension period, unless you have already turned 18.
As the holder of a JOL, you may not operate a motor vehicle between 12:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. unless you are accompanied by one of your parents or your legal guardian. If you are found operating a motor vehicle in violation of this restriction, you may be charged
with operating a motor vehicle without being licensed. This is a criminal violation. Note: The law states that between 12:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. and between 4:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., the provisions of the law shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies only when a Junior Operator of a motor vehicle has been lawfully stopped for a violation of the motor vehicle laws or some other offense. This is called “secondary enforcement.” However, it is still illegal for you to operate during those times without a parent present in the car.
See Chapter Two for a list of the penalties and fees you will face for violating any of these restrictions.
If you violate the passenger restriction or the night restriction, you will be subject to a license suspension of 60 days for a first offense, 180 days for a second offense, and one year for subsequent offenses. For a second or subsequent offense, you will also
be required to complete a Driver Attitudinal Retraining course. The law requires the Registrar to impose this suspension in addition to any other penalty, fine, suspension, revocation, or requirement that may be imposed in connection with a violation committed at the time you were violating the passenger or night restriction.
You may not operate a motor vehicle that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
You will be suspended for one year if you are under 18 when you have committed certain driving offenses and alcohol or drugs were involved (180 days if age 18 to 21), in addition to any penalty assessed by a court or other law. (For details, see the License Suspension or Revocation section of Chapter Two.)
You will be ineligible for a full license until you have completed the period of suspension imposed while operating with a JOL and you reach age 18.
You will face additional suspension periods of one year for a first drag racing offense and three years for a subsequent offense. For a first speeding offense, you will be suspended for 90 days; for a subsequent offense, you will be suspended for one year.

LICENSE Violations

Violation1st Offense2nd Offense3rd Offense
Passenger Restriction60 day suspension
$100 reinstatement fee
180 day suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course
$100 reinstatement fee
1 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course Full Exam
$100 reinstatement fee

Time Restriction Violation

12:30am-5am

60 day suspension
$100 reinstatement fee
180 day suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course
$100 reinstatement fee
1 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course
Full Exam
$100 reinstatement fee
Operating to Endanger/
Recklessly or Negligent
180 day suspension
$500 reinstatement
1 year suspension
Full exam
$500 Reinstatement
1 year suspension
Full exam
$500 Reinstatement
Drag-Racing1 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
Full Exam
$500 reinstatement fee
3 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
Full Exam
$1000 reinstatement
3 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
Full Exam
$1000 reinstatement
Speeding90 day suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
$500 reinstatement fee
Full Exam
1 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
$500 reinstatement fee
Full Exam
1 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
$500 reinstatement fee
Full Exam

PERMIT Violations

Violation1st Offense2nd Offense3rd Offense
Unaccompanied by Licensed Driver60 day suspension
$100 reinstatement
Reapply for Permit
180 day suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course
$100 reinstatement fee
Reapply for Permit
1 year suspension
$100 reinstatement fee
Reapply for Permit
Drag-Racing1 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
Reapply for Permit
$500 reinstatement fee
3 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
Reapply for Permit
$1000 reinstatement fee
3 year suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course & SCARR*
Reapply for Permit
$1000 reinstatement fee
Time Restriction
Violation
12am-5am
60 day suspension
$100 reinstatement fee
Reapply for Permit
180 day suspension
Driver Attitudinal Retraining Course
$100 reinstatement fee
Reapply for Permit
1 year suspension
$100 reinstatement fee
Reapply Permit
Speeding90 day suspension
$100 reinstatement fee
Reapply for Permit
1 year suspension
$100 reinstatement fee
Reapply for Permit
1 year suspension
$100 reinstatement fee
Reapply for Permit

Massachusetts Seat Belt Law
Operators & Passengers, Including Children Age 12 and Over

Chapter 90 Section 13A states;

No person shall operate a private passenger motor vehicle or ride in a private passenger motor vehicle, a vanpool vehicle or truck under eighteen thousand pounds on any way unless such person is wearing a safety belt which is properly adjusted and fastened; provided, however, that this provision shall not apply to:

(a) any child less than 12 years of age who is subject to the provisions of section 7AA;

(b) any person riding in a motor vehicle manufactured before July 1, 1966;

(c) any person who is physically unable to use safety belts; provided, however, that such condition is duly certified by a physician who shall state the nature of the handicap, as well as the reasons such restraint is inappropriate; provided, further, that no such physician shall be subject to liability in any civil action for the issuance or for the failure to issue such certificate;

(d) any rural carrier of the United States Postal Service operating a motor vehicle while in the performance of his duties; provided, however, that such rural mail carrier shall be subject to department regulations regarding the use of safety belts or occupant crash protection devices;

(e) anyone involved in the operation of taxis, liveries, tractors, trucks with gross weight of eighteen thousand pounds or over, buses, and passengers of authorized emergency vehicles.

Any person who operates a motor vehicle without a safety belt, and any person sixteen years of age or over who rides as a passenger in a motor vehicle without wearing a safety belt in violation of this section, shall be subject to a fine of twenty-five dollars. Any operator of a motor vehicle shall be subject to an additional fine of twenty-five dollars for each person under the age of sixteen and no younger than twelve who is a passenger in said motor vehicle and not wearing a safety belt.

The provisions of this section shall be enforced by law enforcement agencies only when an operator of a motor vehicle has been stopped for a violation of the motor vehicle laws or some other offense.

Any person who receives a citation for violating this section may contest such citation pursuant to section three of chapter ninety C. A violation of this section shall not be considered as a conviction of a moving violation of the motor vehicle laws for the purpose of determining surcharges on motor vehicle premiums pursuant to section one hundred and thirteen B of chapter one hundred and seventy-five.
Massachusetts existing child passenger law

Infants and small children must ride in car seats until; 1) They are at least 5 years old, and 2), they weigh over 40 pounds.
The type of car seats permitted include federally approved infant, toddler, convertible and booster seats
Children who weigh more than 40 pounds but are under 5 years old must ride in a booster seat.
Children who are 5 years of age or older, and also weigh more than 40 pounds, must wear a seat belt that is properly adjusted
Federally approved booster seats are permitted and recommended for children who weigh between 40 and 60 pounds
Children using the vehicle seat belt only should not place the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the back.

This law applies to children riding in:
* all types of privately owned vehicles
* vehicles for hire, including taxi cabs. It is the responsibility of a child’s parent or caregiver to provide the car seat to use in a taxi cab.

This law does not apply to:
* children riding in school buses.
* children riding in a vehicle made before July 1, 1966 that does not have safety belts.
* children physically unable to use either a conventional car seat or a child restraint specifically designed for children with special needs. Inability to use a child restraint of either type must be certified in writing by a physician.

The safest place for children is in the back seat.
Always put your baby in the back seat, still facing the rear, until he or she is old enough and large enough to face forward (at least 20 pounds and age 1). Never turn a baby under 20 pounds to face the front of the car. This could cause spinal cord injury in a crash.
When possible, have an adult ride in back with a new baby or any infant who has special medical problems.
Any child is protected best by riding in the rear seat in a safety seat or belt that fits correctly.
If a child over 20 pounds riding in a forward-facing safety seat must sit in front, slide the vehicle seat as far back as it will go. The child will be cushioned by the air bag when it has opened fully. Older children and adults in the front seat must use lap and shoulder belts to be protected.

Aggressive Drivers 

The aggressive driver is identified as anyone who commits violations such as:
Driving while intoxicated
Speeding
Following too closely
Making unsafe lane changes
Driving carelessly or inattentively
Disregarding traffic signals or stop signs
Failing to keep right

REMEMBER: The law requires that you must yield for pedestrians in crosswalks.

Child Passenger Safety

Despite widespread efforts to educate drivers about the importance of properly restraining children in vehicles, auto accidents continue to be a leading cause of death among young people. Almost six out of ten children killed in collisions are unrestrained, indicating that a large number of these deaths could be are prevented. In Massachusetts, as well as many other states, it is illegal for children to ride unrestrained, yet in four out of ten cases, drivers don’t properly restrain their young passengers. Northbridge police officers are extremely concerned about this problem and are quite vigilant in stopping and issuing summonses to drivers who violate this provision of the motor vehicle laws.

Child Passenger Restraints (Car Seats)

All children riding in passenger motor vehicles must be in a federally approved child passenger restraint (car seat) that is properly fastened and secured according to the manufacturer’s instructions until they are 8 years old or over 57 inches tall. Once the child transitions out of a car seat they are then required to wear a seatbelt.
M.G.L. Chap 90 Sec. 7AA: allows for an assessment of a $25 citation to the operator of a motor vehicle who does not ensure a child is properly restrained.

Types of Car Seats
There are several different types of car seats available and choosing the proper one can be confusing. Choosing the correct seat is dependent upon the age and size of your child.

Infant-Only: typically, the first type of car seat one would purchase. It should only be used rear facing and has a weight limit between 22 and 35 pounds. Most have a detachable base which remains secured in the vehicle. The carrier is equipped with a 5-point harness that secures the child at the shoulders and hips. The carrier can removed from the base in order to more easily transport the child.

Convertible: this is the next level of care seat once the child has outgrown the infant-only model. These types can be used in rear-facing or forward-facing positions. These models are also equipped with 5-point harnesses and are designed to hold a child of up to 40 pounds when rear-facing and up to 70 pounds forward-facing. It is recommended that children be kept in a rear-facing model until they reach the maximum height and weight limits of their specific car seat (this can be up to 4 years old).

Belt-positioning Booster: the final type of car seat which the child can transition to upon outgrowing the convertible seat. The booster seat is placed on the seat of the vehicle and the child will be secured using a lap-and-shoulder seatbelt. The shoulder portion of the seatbelt passes thru the back of the booster which can then be adjusted to make sure the seatbelt sits properly on the shoulder of the child.

Installing a Car Seat
All car seats need to be installed properly in order to provide the maximum amount of safety. Every car seat needs to be secured within the vehicle using either the seatbelt or LATCH system. Which one you choose is determined by the compatibility of the car seat with the vehicle that it is being installed in. Consult the owners’ manuals of the car and the car seat to see which options are available.

The Northbridge Police Department has certified car seat installers who are available by appointment. Please call the Northbridge Police Department at 508-234-6211 to schedule a car seat check.

 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column css=”.vc_custom_1575518623034{padding-top: 35px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”rotateIn”]UNDERAGE DRINKING

More youths die as a result of abusing alcohol than from abusing all illegal drugs combined, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The United States Attorney General reports that approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die every year as a result of underage drinking, including about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides and 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries, such as falls.

Explanation of Massachusetts laws and penalties with respect to underage drinking and/or driving and social host liability.

The legal drinking age in Massachusetts is 21 years of age. Chapter 138 Section 34C prohibits anyone under twenty-one years of age and not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian from “knowingly possessing, transporting or carrying on his person, any alcohol or alcoholic beverages.” The law also requires that the court (upon a conviction) notify the RMV of a violation and the registrar shall suspend that person’s license for a period of ninety days.

Purchasing Alcohol
For persons under 21 years of age:
A person over 21 years of age may not buy alcohol for a person under 21 years of age, unless their relationship is that of parent and child or husband and wife, and even in those situations liquor must be bought at a package liquor store, not a restaurant or tavern. Violation of this section may result in a fine of $2,000, imprisonment up to 6 months, or both. M.G.L.c.138, Sec. 34.

By persons under 21 years of age:
Alcohol may not be purchased or attempted to be purchased by a person under 21 years of age. A person may not lie about his/her age to purchase alcohol, present false identification, or make arrangements with someone older to buy alcohol for him / her. Violation of this section may result in a fine of $300. M.G.L.c.138, Sec.34A

Liquor purchasing ID cards:
Any person who transfers, alters, or defaces any such card, or who makes, uses, carries, sells, or distributes a false identification card, or furnishes false information in obtaining such a card, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Such persons are subject to immediate arrest. M.G.L. c. 138, Sec.34B.

Serving Alcohol
To persons under 21 years of age:
Any person without a license to serve alcohol may not serve someone under 21 years of age, unless their relationship is that of parent and child or husband and wife. Violation of this section may result in a fine of $2000, 6 months imprisonment, or both. M.G.L.c.138, Sec.34.

Social Host Liability
Under Massachusetts law, a host of a party may be held liable for the injuries suffered by others if the host knew or should have known that a guest was drunk and nevertheless gave/permitted the guest to take an alcoholic drink and thereafter, because of the guest’s intoxication, the guest negligently caused injury to others. If the guest who causes an injury is a minor, the host who served the alcohol or permitted alcohol to be served to the minor might be held liable to others even if the minor was already intoxicated when the minor was served alcohol.

Transportation of Alcohol
It is unlawful for a person under 21 years of age knowingly to drive a car with alcohol in it unless accompanied by a parent. To do so may result in a fine of up to fifty dollars or suspension of the driver’s license for three months, or both. May be arrested immediately without a warrant. M.G.L.c.138, Sec.34C

Drinking and Driving
Persons may not drive while drinking from an open container of an alcoholic beverage. To do so may result in a fine for not more than $500. M.G.L.c.90, Sec.241.

Driving while under the Influence of Alcohol
Persons may not drive while under the influence of alcohol or any intoxicating substance. Violators are subject to a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to two years, or both. If a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe a person is driving under the influence, a breathalyzer test may be given. The driver has the right to refuse to take the test, but this will result in automatic loss of license for a period of 120 days. M.G.L.c.90, Sec. 24(1).
Conviction for a first violation of this section results in a license for at least 45 days (180 days for offenders under the age of 21) and either a fine or imprisonment or probation and assignment to an alcohol education program. Conviction of a second violation means loss of license for at least one year, a fine and a minimum of 14 days in jail, or two years of probation and a minimum of 14 days confinement in a residential alcohol treatment program. May be arrested immediately without warrant. M.G.L.c.90, Sec.24D.

Vehicular Homicide
Anyone who operates a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating substance and who operates that vehicle recklessly or negligently so as to endanger and who, by any such operation causes death of another, is guilty of homicide by motor vehicle and shall be punished by imprisonment at the state prison for not less than 2 -1/2 years, a fine of not more than $5,000 and revocation of driver’s license for 10 years. May be arrested immediately without a warrant. M.G.L.c.90, Sec.24G.

Causing Serious Bodily Injury due to Drunk Driving
Anyone who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating substance and who operates the vehicle recklessly or negligently so as to endanger and who, by any such operation, causes serious bodily injury to another shall be punished by imprisonment at the state prison for not less than 2-1/2 years, a fine of not more than $5,000 and revocation of driver’s license for 2 years. May be arrested immediately without a warrant. M.G.L.c90, Sec.24L.

Possession of an Open Container of Alcohol
The Town of Northbridge has a Town Bylaw (Section 9-200) which prevents the possession of an open container of alcohol. Any minor found to be in possession of an open container of alcohol can be charged with this in addition to the charge of being a minor in possession of alcohol.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]