Maryland Auto Safety News: Put Those Cellphones Away or Risk Being Ticketed by Police

Driver negligence comes in many forms. Causing an accident because one is drowsy, hung over, or worse, drunk are all potential negligence suits waiting to happen. Add to that the possibility of maiming or killing another individual and a driver could be facing prison time and other civil penalties. But these are but several of the numerous causes of automobile and trucking-related crashes.

One hot button issue, which is now part of Maryland state law, is the use of cell phones in a moving vehicle. As a Maryland auto and trucking accident attorney and a Washington, D.C., personal injury lawyer, I have seen the result of distracted driving for years. Cell phone use is high on everybody’s list of major distractions — texting being one of the biggest distracters of all and one of the most likely causes of traffic collisions across the country.

Finally the state of Maryland has a new law on the books that prohibits talking on a hand-held cell phone when operating a motor vehicle. The Maryland General Assembly approved legislation last spring and now it is illegal for motorists across the state to use a hand-held cell phone while driving.

Of course, lawmakers had already approved a similar bill that banned texting while driving, so a ban on hand-held cell phone use while operating a motor vehicle made complete sense, according to many supporters. As written, the new law prohibits all drivers in the state from using a non-hands-free device while driving on any street or highway in the state.

Violation of the new law is a secondary offense, which means that a driver must initially be pulled over for another, primary traffic offense such as speeding or negligent driving. According to the new law, first offenders will receive a citation and fine for $40. Second and subsequent offenses will get the offender a $100 fine.

Based on the law, no points will be assessed on a first-time offender’s record, however one (1) point will be assessed on subsequent violations. In addition, it possible that three (3) points may be assessed if the violation is found to have been a contributing factor in a traffic accident.

Drivers in Md. risk cell tickets,, September 25, 2010

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