Distracted Driving on Maryland Legislature's Short List

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Maryland lawmakers are already beginning to see that their pathetic attempt to restrict the use of cell phones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel needs drastic improvement. The House subcommittee on highway safety will begin the process by seeking to close a loophole in Maryland's texting-while driving ban that allows motorists to read messages. Baltimore County Democrat, Del. James E. Malone Jr., said the committee might also consider whether the cell phone ban adopted last year as a secondary offense, insufficient in itself to trigger a traffic stop, should be made a primary offense.

I am going to vent a bit right now. Studies have shown that texting while driving can be as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than drinking and driving. While I was driving to work today I saw several drivers staring at their phones while careening down 95 traveling 65-75mph in two ton vehicles filled with gas. The current penalty is $40 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent offenses. The kicker is that legally you can text away and call all of your friends and the police can't pull you over unless you are breaking some other law.

In a world where parking tickets often exceed $50 and red light tickets carry a $75 fine, the current efforts to restrict cell phone use on Maryland roads is absolutely laughable. In addition, if texting while driving is anywhere close to as dangerous as drinking and driving, how is it that the former carries a $40 fine and the latter carries possible penalties including a $1000 fine or more, suspension of your driver's license, interlock, and potential jail time? Unfortunately, Robert McKinney, President of the Maryland Highway Safety Foundation, said the organization is leaning toward waiting another year to make the law a primary offense. He wants to give Marylanders another year to get used to the law. Marylanders are already used to the law because it didn't change a thing.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a traffic offense or ir you would like more information on distracted driving, please feel free to visit us on the web at http://www.portnerandshureaccidentlawyers.com. Our criminal defense lawyers are available to provide you with a free legal consultation.

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