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. Towards that goal the department also utilizes a "stealth" police vehicle. This patrol car is fully marked, but does not have the customary emergency lighting equipment on its roof, thus making it more difficult for violators to detect. 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 Operatorís 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 driverís education curriculum (unless they have participated within the past five years).
Pass a final exam to have a driverís 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

Violation 1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense
Passenger Restriction 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
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-Racing 1 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
Speeding 90 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

Violation 1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense
Unaccompanied by Licensed Driver 60 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-Racing 1 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
Speeding 90 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 donŪt 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.

 
Northbridge Police Department | 1 Hope Street Whitinsville MA 01588 | Business Line 1.508.234.6211 | Directions