Registration and licensing requirements
State laws vary when it comes to motor vehicle insurance requirements, licensing and registration. The term vehicle generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight. Service members and their families will want to understand their state’s laws on registration and licensing before moving to a new state. Visit the USA.gov Motor Vehicle Services page for links to state-specific websites.
Motor vehicle laws
State and local laws regulate the operation of motor vehicles, and these laws can vary by location. Many states regulate the following:
- Seatbelt use
- Child safety seats
- Motorcycle operation
- The use of cellphones and other digital devices while driving
Learn more about motor vehicle laws in your state at the Distraction.gov State Lawspage.
Installation Specific Information
Registration & Licensing Requirements
Massachusetts State law requires you to have sufficient liability insurance and a valid driver’s license in order to operate a vehicle. The term “vehicle” generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight. Further, your vehicle must be properly registered. Access complete information on insurance, driver’s licensing, and where and how to register your vehicle by visiting the State Department of Motor Vehicles website. From the Mass DOT you will link to the RMV for licensing and registration.
Seatbelts: You and your passengers must always wear seatbelts while driving, you will be ticketed and issued heavy fines if seatbelts are not secured. State law requires that all children under 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches in height be properly restrained in child seats. Some states also require younger, smaller children to sit in the back seat.
Motorcycles: Motorcycles and their operators are subject to special laws. If you own and operate a motorcycle, you must comply with those laws. Visit the State Department of Motor Vehicles website for more information.
Cell Phones: Many States and local jurisdictions have strict laws about the use of cell phones and other digital devices while driving. Research these laws on the State Department of Motor Vehicles website. Tickets will be issued and fines assessed for violating these laws. Play it safe and always use a “hands-free” device if you must use a cell phone or other PDA while driving. MA law prohibits teens from cell phone use while driving, and all drivers are prohibited from texting. Hands-free devices must be used while operating a motor vehicle on ALL military installations worldwide.
“Move Over Laws”: NE states enforce “move over” laws requiring highway drivers to slow down and shift lanes when they are coming up on emergency vehicles. MA law prohibits teens from cell phone use while driving, and all drivers are prohibited from texting. Drivers must be aware that travel in the breakdown lane is allowed on some roads during high commute periods to reduce congestion – where marked.
Firearms: Massachusetts has strict firearms laws; please check in for information on MA gun laws and those in the states you will pass through on your way here. You can find the state firearm laws on the Move.mil website. Hanscom base housing residents must register their firearms through Police Services/Bldg 1725. Registering through Police Services does not register firearms through the state of MA. Firearms are not authorized in the dorms. Dorm residents may store their weapons in the Security Forces Armory/Bldg 1725. For additional questions, contact Police Services at 781-225-5626.
Hanscom AFB enforces Massachusetts motor vehicle laws. The handbook of MA motor vehicle laws may be reviewed at Pass and ID, Bldg 1305, upon request.
Violations of traffic laws may result in heavy fines, suspension, or revocation of on-base driving privileges. All driving violations on base are based on a points system. Violators receiving 12 pts within a 12 mo period and 18 pts within a 24 mo period for traffic offenses will have their on-base driving privileges suspended for up to 1 yr. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will automatically suspend violator’s on-base driving privileges whether the offense occurred on or off the installation. While on Hanscom AFB, motorists must obey an order given by the Security Police and Department of Defense Police officers. Call the Security Police at 781-225-5000 if you have questions.
Active duty and DoD civilian personnel must complete a certified motorcycle riders’ course before operating a motorcycle on base. All required safety gear must be worn, to include full-fingered gloves, over the ankle boots, long pants and long-sleeved shirt or jacket and DOT approved helmet. If a half-helmet is worn, the rider must wear eye protection. Reflective gear is no longer required but always encouraged. Each unit is assigned a Motorcycle Safety Rep if additional information is needed.
Speed Limits — Unless otherwise posted, the maximum speed limits are 25 mph on base roads, 10 mph in parking lots, and 15-mph in base housing and entering/exiting the base gates.
Vehicle Checks — All vehicles entering or leaving Hanscom AFB are subject to search. Failure to comply with this request can subject military members to Art 92/UCMJ and civilians to debarment from the installation.
Seat Belts — Seat belts are mandatory on and off base for vehicle operators and passengers. Operators are responsible for ensuring all occupants comply with the seat belt rule, and will be cited if they or any passengers are not in compliance. Multiple citations for failure to comply with this may also lead to suspension of base driving privileges.
Children must be 8 years old or 4 feet 9 inches in height in order to use a seat belt safely. A properly fastened child safety seat must be used before these requirements are met.
Radar Detectors and dashboard cameras (GoPro) — The use of radar detectors and dashboard cameras is prohibited on Hanscom AFB. Photography is strictly prohibited at all entry control points and the search area.
Cell Phones – only hands-free cell phone devices are allowed. Prohibited while operating a government vehicle.
All snow, ice, or other obstructions must be removed from the windshield, rear and side windows, etc. Please, don’t carry more passengers than your auto was designed for! (Have enough seatbelts for each passenger.)