202 Mass. 443 (1909), Dudley v. Northampton St. Ry. Co.

Citation:202 Mass. 443, 89 N.E. 25
Opinion Judge:SHELDON, J.
Attorney:Wm. G. Bassett and John B. O'Donnell, for plaintiff. J. C. Hammond and T. J. Hammond, for defendant.
Case Date:June 22, 1909
Court:Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Page 443

202 Mass. 443 (1909)

89 N.E. 25




Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Hampshire.

June 22, 1909

[89 N.E. 26]


Wm. G. Bassett and

Page 444

John B. O'Donnell, for plaintiff.

J. C. Hammond and T. J. Hammond, for defendant.



It was provided by the statutes in force at the time of this accident that no person should operate an automobile or motor cycle upon any public highway or private way laid out under authority of statute unless he had been licensed to do so and unless his automobile or motor cycle had been registered as prescribed. St. 1903, p. 507, c. 473; St. 1905, p. 227, c. 311. But it was also provided by section 2 of the act last cited that 'any automobile or motor cycle owned by a nonresident of this state who has complied with the laws relative to motor vehicles and the operation thereof of the state in which he resides may be operated by such owner on the roads and highways of this state for a period not exceeding fifteen days without the license,' etc., required in other cases. The first question presented in this case is whether the plaintiff in operating his machine in this state on the day of the accident was acting in violation of law.

He was a resident of Connecticut. He had complied with all the laws of that state, and had a right to operate his machine on the highways of this state for a period not exceeding 15 days. He came into this state in his automobile

Page 445

on Wednesday, September 13th, and remained here until the day of the accident, September 29th, except that on September 14th he drove to West Suffield, Conn., returning to Massachusetts the same evening, and that he went to Brattleboro, Vt., on one day to attend a fair, staying there that day, but not overnight. Each of these absences was merely a temporary visit to the other state, made with no intention of a permanent stay, and followed by a speedy return; and on each of these days he did actually operate his machine in this state. After his return from Vermont and before the accident, his machine needed repairs, and was kept in a repair garage a day and a half for that purpose.

It is not necessary to determine whether the statute before us should be interpreted as giving to nonresident owners of motor cars who have complied with the laws of their own state merely one period of 15 days after once coming into the state before being forbidden to operate their machines on the roads of this state without a license under its authority, and allowing only one total period of grace during the whole of the license year, or whether it should be construed more liberally by allowing nonresident owners to operate their cars without a license for a period of not more than 15 days upon any and every occasion when they shall come into this commonwealth. In either event, this plaintiff had exceeded his privilege. He made one visit here; and the running of his 15 days was not interrupted by his temporary calls into other states. Nor can the period be extended by not counting the days on [89 N.E. 27] which his machine was laid up for repairs or on which for any other reason he did not actually operate it. He had driven it into this commonwealth; within the meaning of the statute he was operating it during the whole of his stay. By no process of computation can it be claimed that his stay had lasted for less than 16 days. It follows that he was acting unlawfully, in violation of the statutes referred to, at the time of the collision...

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