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Q

I was caught street racing in Massachusetts and I got a 500 dollar ticket. It is my first offense, before this I have had a clean record. I deliver food for my job, will I automatically lose my license for this offense?


A

Yes, there is an automatic 30 day driver's license suspension for a conviction for drag racing in Massachusetts. The General Laws of Massachusetts (MGL chapter 90, Section 17B) were revised and as of February 26, 2008 drag racing in Massachusetts became a criminal offense for most drivers, rather than a civil motor vehicle infraction.

The revision of MGL c.90 s.17B states:

No person shall operate a motor vehicle, nor shall any owner of such vehicle permit it to be operated, in a manner where the owner or operator accelerates at a high rate of speed in competition with another operator, whether or not there is an agreement to race, causing increased noise from skidding tires and amplified noise from racing engines. Whoever violates this section shall be punished by imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 1/2 years or by a fine of not more than $1,000. The registrar shall suspend such violator's license for a period of not less than 30 days for a first offense and for not less than 180 days for any subsequent violation.

Before these new laws were into effect penalties for drag racing in MA were a fine of $100 to $500 fine and 30 day license suspension for a first offense, and a then a fine of $200 to $1000 fine and 60 day suspension for a subsequent offense. Under the new law, penalties are more serious. Even a first offense carries the possibility of up to 2 1/2 years in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, in addition to license suspension.

The changes to the MA law did not amend the section affecting young drivers. Drag racing remains a civil infraction for drivers with a junior operator's license or learner's permit. These newer drivers though continue to face high fines, long suspensions and license reinstatement fees, but no possibility of jail time.

The section of 17B that deals with young drivers states that the holder of a junior operator's license or learner's permit who commits a violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than $250 for a first offense and the registrar shall suspend the junior operator's license or learner's permit for 1 year.

A subsequent violation shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500 and the registrar shall suspend the junior operator's license or learner's permit for 3 years. A holder of a junior operator's license or learner's permit who commits a violation under this section shall also be required to complete the state courts against road rage program sponsored by the trial court and the department of state police.

Your car insurance rates will likely also be affected by a conviction for the serious offense of street (drag) racing. As you are should be aware since you deliver food for work that most private passenger auto insurance policies do not provide coverage when the covered vehicle is used to deliver property, i.e. pizzas, other food, package or people for a fee (salary, tips, etc.). A normal personal auto policy (PAP) sold to individuals usually excludes coverage for drivers who use an insured vehicle to transport persons or property for a fee.

So if you only have a personal auto insurance policy than coverage would probably be denied if an accident occurred while you were using your personal vehicle to deliver food, packages, etc without your insurance company knowing about you using your car for business purposes and stating that your vehicle would be covered. If you not an independent contractor and have an employer, check with your employer to determine if the company will provide you coverage while you are engaged in that employer's work.

Since most personal auto policies will exclude coverage for the vehicle while it is being used for "business purposes" you will likely have to obtain a business use or commercial policy for your vehicle if you do not already have this coverage on your car.

Follow this link to obtain a quote through our partners for the type of commercial / business use auto insurance that is needed to cover a delivery driver.


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