Is it Really Illegal to Have Gorillas in Your Back Seat in Massachusetts?

Lisa Steuer McArdle
· 3 min read
Many states have some very odd and outdated laws that have been on the books for a long time. While it’s easy to find laws that are still in effect that don’t make much sense, there’s a rule about gorillas in
that people claim is law. But is it really true?
In Massachusetts, it’s supposedly illegal to have a gorilla riding in the back seat of your car. A quick Google search reveals this is often listed as an example of a very funny or ridiculous law in articles all over the internet.
But further examination reveals that’s not exactly what the law says.
The actual law says that you cannot transport an animal in the back of a motor vehicle unless it is caged or the animal is protected from potentially being thrown, falling or jumping out of the window. It seems that people have read this law and replaced "animal" with "gorilla" to make it sound more over-the-top and funny.
So technically, a wild animal can be transported in the back of your car in
if it’s properly caged.
Cars speeding down a Massachusetts highway | Twenty20

Massachusetts’ rules of the road

Massachusetts does have some unique rules and facts when it comes to driving.
Massachusetts is ranked 44th in size, but has the 15th largest population. It’s a relatively small state, but has the 21st largest vehicle fleet in the country.
In 2017, there were more than 5 million registered motor vehicles operating on its roads, which is the most recent year with this data available.
Here are some rules and facts of the road to know when driving in Massachusetts, according to
  • Drivers who are over the age of 18 can use cell phones only in hand-free mode. Voice-to text communication is allowed only when the phone is properly mounted. Drivers under the age of 19 are prohibited from using cell phones while driving at all, including hands-free mode.
  • Massachusetts was the last state in the U.S. to allow a right on red. It is still prohibited in many intersections, so make sure to look for a sign before making a right on red.
  • There must be at least two seconds of space between your car and the car ahead of you.
  • Drivers must also stay at least three feet away from bicycle traffic.
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Massachusetts driving laws

Although the gorilla law is not exactly true, Massachusetts does have a few funny and random driving laws. Here are a few of our favorites:
  • In Nahant, it’s illegal to excavate any city street.
  • Stopping at red lights is not actually required by law unless flashing
  • Dogs are banned from riding in ambulances.
  • In Milford, it’s forbidden to look inside a vehicle to invade the privacy of the occupants.

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