Maryland toughens up on texting while driving.
Ever since Maryland adopted its first texting while driving ban, many have said the law was too soft. Indeed, motorists were banned from writing or sending a text message, but were still allowed to read one. Starting from now, police officers will have more power to catch drivers at fault.
Under SB 424, motorists are now banned from reading, writing or sending a text message while driving. Moreover, the new law becomes a primary offense, meaning police officers will be able to pull over texting drivers without first observing another offense. A first offense results in a $70, while a repeating offense will turn into a $110 fine for the violating driver.
Authorities are hoping the new law will reduce the number of car crashes caused by a distracted driver.
“In 2008, there were 23,707 inattentive driver-involved crashes that killed 35 people in Maryland and injured 11,636 people,” according to John Kuo, head of the Motor Vehicle Administration. “Distracted driving is a major highway safety issue. This new law is aimed at reducing the number of distracted-driving crashes, injuries and fatalities.”
Over the past two years, even if texting while driving was a secondary enforcement law, more than 9,000 tickets were handed out to drivers violating the law.
Source: The Washington Examiner, September 29, 2011