Monday, October 03, 2011

New Texting and Cell Phone Laws

Maryland’s Texting While Driving Law took effect on October 1st. The new law prohibits all drivers in Maryland from using a text message device to write, send, or read a text message while operating a motor vehicle in the traveled portion of the roadway. This includes times where the driver is stopped at a traffic signal.

A text messaging device means a hand-held device used to send a text message or an electronic message via a short message service. This includes Twitter.

Maryland’s Texting While Driving Law is a primary offense law and a misdemeanor crime. A first offense carries a fine of $70 and a second offense fine is $110. The law does not apply to texting to 9-1-1 or using a global positioning system (GPS).

Maryland’s Cell Phone Law prohibits all drivers in Maryland from using a hand-held cell phone while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway. Drivers under the age of 18 are already prohibited from using cell phones at all while driving.

This law is a secondary offense, meaning a driver must first be detained for another offense, such as speeding or negligent driving before he or she can be ticketed for a cell phone offense.

The fine for a first offense is $40 and subsequent offenses are $100. Points are not assessed to the first-time violator’s driving record, except three points are assessed if the violation contributes to a crash.

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