Mass. lawmakers vote to eliminate headlight violation surcharge

State Senate and House have voted to amend the law so it's no longer considered a "moving violation"

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s best known as “wipers on, headlights on.” The state law requires drivers to turn on their headlights when their windshield wipers are on. Failure to comply could result in a $5 ticket, and an insurance surcharge for years. State lawmakers want to soften the punishment by removing the surcharge.

Timothy Kressler of West Springfield said, “I don’t think that people should be surcharged for not remembering to put their lights on. So many people have automatic head lamps on their cars now that just come on, but they don’t come on in the day light rain.”

Joe Buoniconti of West Springfield agreed. He said, “I think they’ve got enough charges for enough things that we have, so no, I think that’s ridiculous.”

The penalty might soon be reduced to just the $5 fine. The State Senate and House have voted to amend the law so it’s no longer considered a “moving violation,” which means insurance premiums would not increase for violators.

The Merit Rating Board, which keeps track of auto insurance claims, has said they’ve only received 15 violations since the law went into effect April 7th, which means the state has only made $75 on ticketing violators.

Alcesdis Llobrera of Belchertown said, “I didn’t even know about the surcharge but it would help people comply with the law, I think they should keep it.”

The law’s intent was to encourage safe driving habits.

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