On Friday, October 1, 2010, the state of Maryland implemented its new “hands free” cell phone law which makes it a secondary offense to talk and hold cell phone and other telephonic devices while driving. Law enforcements officers who stop motorists for other driving violations can impose a $40 fine for the first violation and $100 fine for second and subsequent ones. The new law is part of a Maryland State Bill passed by both houses and approved by Maryland’s Governor on May 20, 2010; an earlier bill during the legislative year was passed and banned texting while driving.
The District of Columbia is the closest adjacent state that also has a “hands free “law. The District of Columbia’s law is stricter than the Maryland law because the first offense is a primary offense and the fine for all offenses is $100.00. The law in the District also allows for officers to stop drivers solely for the purpose of issuing a ticket for violated the hands free law. The law in Maryland allows officers to issue tickets only when drivers are stopped for other violations.
The National Safety Commission, the United States Department of Transportation, and dozens more have conducted campaigns on talking and texting while driving. Several of campaigns have targeted teens; the most high risk and inexperienced drivers. Unfortunately thousands of lives have been cost by the desire to have most likely meaningless, trivial and often gossipy conversations while driving.
It is just a sign of the times, we all say, it is reflective of our technologically advanced society and youth.
The new law should help retail numbers as it is expected that drivers that do not own the devices will go to wireless retailers and others stores where the hands free devices are sold. Hands free devices range in prices from $15.00 to $185.00. Interestingly enough to this writer, the State of Maryland’s Department of Motor Vehicles website had no information on the new “hands free law.” Should you want to contact Maryland’s MVA regarding the omission of this information as I have done the email for their dirver eduction is firstname.lastname@example.org at the http://www.mva.maryland.gov/.