Claim: A new Massachusetts traffic law requires that headlights be turned on when windshield wipers are in use.
Examples: [Collected via e-mail, April 2015]
Don't forget to put your headlights on whenever you have your windshield wipers on or when it's foggy, etc. The fine is $5, but the Insurance companies can (and probably will) penalize you with a surcharge.
Origins: On 7 April 2015, Massachusetts joined other states in implementing a new traffic law requiring that motorists turn on their vehicles' headlights in low light conditions (such as at dawn and dusk); whenever insufficient lighting, unfavorable atmospheric conditions, or other factors do not allow for a clear view of at least
It is not quite accurate to state, however, that the new law "requires that car headlights be switched on whenever a vehicle's windshield wipers are operating," a phrasing that might serve to convince motorists they must turn on their headlights or risk a fine if they monentarily engage their wipers (but not their headlamps) in order to scoot a leaf or bug off their windshield, or to brush away those last few droplets left on the front window after exiting the car wash. Rather, it is more accurate to say this new law requires motorists to turn their headlights on anytime weather conditions make it necessary to operate windshield wipers on a continuous basis (i.e., "when the vehicle's windshield wipers are needed").
So, for example, if a driver were to hit a sudden sun shower that was depositing enough water on the windshield to require continuous operation of the wipers for some period of time, that motorist must also switch on his headlights for the duration of the shower, even though visiblity conditions might be clear, sunny, and bright all around him.
Violation of this law is considered a surchargeable minor vehicle traffic law violation punishable with a
Last updated: 7 April 2015