By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland lawmakers are taking another hard look at distracted driving.  One bill proposed would make using a handheld cell phone while on the road a primary offense and, as political reporter Pat Warren explains, more restrictions on texting could go on the books.

There’s a move in the General Assembly to take more control of what you do with your wireless device while you’re behind the wheel.  Under a bill proposed in the House of Delegates, reading a text message while on the road goes on the list of wireless no-nos. 

“I usually text while I drive,” said one driver.

“It’s probably not a good idea,” said another.

Christine Armiger has seen tragedy caused by a driver’s use of a wireless device.

“My best friend…passed away less than a month ago.  She was texting and driving and ran into a tree and passed away,” Armiger said.

State Police told the House Economic Matters Committee Tuesday that reading is as great a hazard as writing a text.

“A person reading a text message is emotionally involved and it impairs driving ability,” one said.

Some lawmakers also question how officers can make the determination that a person is actually reading a text.  It’s a question that could derail the idea, but not strong enough to change one young woman’s mind.

“At the same time, reading is distracting,” she said.  “Stay focused and drive.”

Cell phone and texting bills have made the rounds in Annapolis over the past several years and aren’t likely to go away until they’re passed.

The restriction would not apply if a driver pulls over on the side of the road, but it prohibits reading at stop signs and traffic lights.

Comments (31)
  1. icare says:

    People are still going to do it and not everyone will be caught. It is impossible to fully resolve this problem.

    1. InOnTheFly says:

      I believe a stiff fine of $1000 or more may be a step in the right direction!

  2. ghoulie says:

    so is it cool that an officer of the law drives while using the computer in the car?
    a much bigger screen with a lot more going on? i cant text , but you can type?

    1. Don says:

      You Do As I Say NOT As I Do

    2. Brandon says:

      The computer contains dispatch information. Would you prefer the officer never make it to your 911 call? Also, they’re trained in advanced driving techniques, so I wouldn’t be so quick to compare.

      1. Signtopia says:

        “advanced driving techniques”?????? You have to to be kidding me. I guess you didn’t hear about the cop that plowed into a stopped fire engine in west Baltimore. An investigation into the accident could not come up with a cause for the wreck and the resulting death of the officer………no mention of his Blackberry and laptop being a factor or not BUT I would bet the house that it was. This is nothing but a money grab. What is next?…….how about making it illegal for any big rig truckers to use a CB radio while driving…..regardless of their training……AND let’s tack on some extra fines if he is caught changing the frequency or channel…….yeah………that will do it…..imagine no more truck accidents.

  3. InOnTheFly says:

    Believe it was a mistake to allow any of this to begin! Just this morning while going around a turn of at least 90 degrees, I had to go completely off the road to avoid being hit head-on by some IDIOT girl looking down at her text screen. I am sure that she is now home changing undergarments at this time. I almost had to do so. There just cannot be ANY phone call or text message that important can there?

  4. Robert says:

    They should ban usage while driving.We survive for so long without them, so why are they so important now

  5. josyse says:

    What another joke this is – can we have people in the House of Delegates who have common sense and not a book degree?

  6. Blackie says:

    I’d rather see cell phones not function at all when in a car

  7. JD says:

    The statement defending law enforcement is an absolute falsehood and shows the lack of actual knowhow on behalf of the author. The “extensive” training you speak of is a joke and there are hundreds of people who see law enforcement using their personal cell phones on a regular basis. Another prime example of laws being pushed through that have no chance of solving any actual problem. Its also another case of laws that will be enforced by people who have no intention of following them.

    It is truly laughable that the state really thinks they are going to deter people from using their phones while driving. Its a perfect example of a way to make money from people and mask it behind a noble cause.

  8. InOnTheFly says:

    Yes Blackie, and I would add in restaurants too!

  9. Sean C Scott says:

    Well then. Let’s make reading anything in our cars illegal–including the speedometer. “But, officer. I was going 99 in a 55 because Maryland law said that I couln’t read anything while driving!”

    1. Kathryn says:

      Are you brain damaged or what?

  10. Zeph says:


  11. lori says:

    I’m trying to figure out why people need the government to tell them how to not kill other people. It is a proven fact that reading and sending text messages while driving kills people.
    Just the other day I was behind someone on 695, inner-loop north bound on the west side. We were driving through the Liberty Rd construction zone in the left lane and they continued to veer to the left, almost crashing into the jersey wall a few times. Once we were through the construction zone, they did not accelerate to the normal speed and continued veering over the line. I had to pass on the right (which is illegal but sadly a necessity nowadays). I looked to my left to see the person’s eyes glued to the phone being held at their steering wheel, still going 50mph a quater mile north of the construction zone in the left lane.
    Anyway, basically, think about other people when you’re driving. You’re driving a couple tons of steel and glass hurtling at a mile a minute around hundreds of other people. Think about that before you read that text. It’s not all about you.

  12. Candy says:

    Christin was not best friends with that girl she was only friends with her and that girl is a very very BIG known lier so please dont belive this.

    1. Cassie Armiger says:

      Christina was a friend with that girl, to discuss a topic on national television of someone you know that ended in such a tragic manner . . .

      1. Elizabeth says:

        If she was such a good friend to Jenny, she would know exactly what happened. I drive past the site of the accident every day. Please, stop defending such ignorance.

  13. Erik Wood says:

    I think legislation has value in raising public awareness in forums like this one but it will be difficult to solely legislate our way out of this issue. I just read that 72% of teens text daily – many text more 4000 times a month. New college students no longer have email addresses! They use texting and Facebook – even with their professors. This text and drive issue is in its infancy and its not going away.

    I decided to do something about distracted driving after my three year old daughter was nearly run down right in front of me by a texting driver. Instead of a shackle that locks down phones and alienates the user (especially teens) I built a tool called OTTER that is a simple GPS based, texting auto reply app for smartphones. It also silences call ringtones while driving unless you have a bluetooth enabled. I think if we can empower the individual then change will come to our highways now and not just our laws.

    Erik Wood, owner
    OTTER app

  14. mary says:

    This is what people don’t understand about texting- ask someone if they text while they drive. If they say yes, ask them if they ever shut their eyes for 3 seconds while they drive. They’ll probably say “Oh I would never do that!”. What they don’t understand is that texting is basically like driving 60mph with your eyes closed; now that’s a scary thought, and one that seems to resonate with many people.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    That girl doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Jenny Suit was also my friend. She did not die from running into a tree or texting. I don’t want the spread of this false information, it is insulting to Jenny.

  16. Chris Rhodes says:

    Jenny was one of my best friend. Christina straight up told me at the memorial service she didnt even know jenny. Jenny did not hit a tree, she was taken from us 2 months ago not “about a month” and there was NO evidence of texting and driving these lies are ridiculous and should NOT be spread and a good friend of mine.

    1. holly says:

      get em chris… It’s sad people base their popularity on false information and insult all the people close to her, like you & brooke. And jennys FAMILY!

    2. Tylyn Fisher says:

      love you chriss.

    3. Concerned parent says:

      U shouldn’t have mentioned anybody’s name. Mistakes happen that’s why most of us don’t speak on tv. Just like Chiristina Aguilera who is famous & we all know she knew the words to the National Anthem . . . but she was caught up in the moment & forgot the words. YES it was a mistake –
      PS U r forgiven

      1. Concerned youth says:

        You are supporting ignorance, which can easily be seen within your grammar. You are a parent, you should know better. It is best to know your facts and to speak falsely of someone’s death after claiming to be their friend, you have insulted the deceased and everyone who cared for them.

  17. Danni says:

    Lets get something straight…Christina is not forgiven. If she can lie on national television she should be able to apologize on there also for her ignorance and disrespect. “best friend” “1 month ago” “texting and driving” “hit a tree”. 4 lies in a matter of 7 seconds she was on TV that is not ok and to say stuff like that about someone you don’t know, its insulting to all of jennys real friends and family. She was not caught up in the moment she knew exactly what she was going to say its not like the 6 cameras caught her off guard.

  18. Jessica.Marie says:

    So no texting and driving. Im a women with a license what about all the women who do theyre makeup while driving. & what about the people who have the morning news paper all out across the dash-board while driving thats deffinetly not safe worse then a cell phone.

  19. Christian EazyShakur Peck says:

    Christina Armiger, you are a pariah!

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