Baltimore County Democrat Pushing Maryland Bill to Toughen Distracted Driving Law
Distracted driving is a serious hazard on Baltimore County roads and highways -- particularly when cell phones are involved. A few years ago, talking on cell phones while driving was the primary culprit. Now the widespread availability of text and data enabled smartphones means drivers not only talk on their phones behind the wheel, but send, receive, and read text messages. You know the tell-tale signs when you see them: driver's head is down, cell phone is in their hands, thumbs are typing away -- and their attention is not on the road. Cell phone use while driving causes deadly motor vehicle accidents in Maryland and everywhere else in the country.
The National Safety Council reports 1.6 million auto crashes a year in the US caused by talking and texting on cell phones. And the Maryland State Highway Administration estimates that more than 380 people have died in Maryland due to distracted driving auto crashes in the last 5 years. Now a Baltimore County lawmaker wants to add teeth to the Maryland law that restricts cell phone usage while driving.
Delegate James Malone, a democrat from Baltimore County, Md., is sponsoring legislation that would give Maryland police more clout in enforcing Maryland's cell phone use while driving ban, which is currently a secondary offense. Malone would like to see the ban become a primary offense, which would give Maryland police the right to pull drivers over if they're observed using their handheld cell phones while driving. Currently in Maryland, the police can only issue a cell phone use citation if the driver is pulled over for a separate violation.
A Baltimore county accident injury attorney works with families when someone has died or been injured in a car accident due to distracted driving or other negligence or recklessness on the part of another Maryland motorist. Mr. Malone believes that many Md. drivers continue to talk on their handheld cellphones, knowing the police can't pull them over solely for that reason.
Maryland is among the states that have taken the problem of car and truck accidents caused by cell phone use very seriously. In fact, as of Oct. 2010, Maryland become one of eight states to ban handheld cell phone use while driving, subjecting drivers to fines. Using a hands-free cell phone while driving is allowed in Md.
Md. Bill to Tighten Cell Phone Use While Driving
Maryland bill would make talking on handheld cell phone while driving a primary offense
ABCNews.com Feb. 16, 2011
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