By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CBS) — The Maryland Senate has passed a bill that makes it illegal to read a text while driving.  The bill has already passed the House.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports  arguments about existing laws and the many other distractions drivers face don’t seem to hold a candle to the power of parental persuasion.

The Senate passed the bill Monday night 35-11. Violators could be fined up to $500. Drivers also could not read a text message while stopped at a traffic light.

“I’m actually 16 and I completely agree with this because I have friends who have been in car accidents,” said Mary Hanemayer.

That concern applies to adults, as well, but not where everybody is concerned.  Alan Kittleman, who represents Carroll and Harford counties, is against the bill.

“We heard arguments that parents need this law so they can tell their kids `You can’t do this.’  They can tell them now not to do it,” he said.

And apparently that works both ways.

“Even my dad sometimes will read a business text and I get very angry at him and I tell him to put his phone down,” Hanemayer said.  “I definitely agree with this.”

And that generally seems to be the case, if only as a matter of protecting yourself against other drivers on the road.

“You know, I see a lot of people out here, driving and on the phone,” said Milton Gross.  “It’s a good idea.”

Texting while driving has already been outlawed in the state of Maryland.

(Copyright 2011 – The Associated Press contributed to this report.  All rights reserved.)

Comments (18)
  1. Owings Mills says:

    Somebody please tell me how this will be enforced? Stupid law.

  2. Crabby1 says:

    Why not slap a $500 fine? That would make people put down their phones, isn’t the city looking for money?

  3. Eastsider says:

    Why are they limiting this law to only cell phones? What about eating, applying makeup, reading, loose pets as well as other distractions. I guess you get stupid laws from stupid law makers.

  4. bernard F Mc Kernan says:

    Laws are only as good as they are enforced. Use the cameras to ticket these numbskulls just like you do speeders. Users of cell phones scoff & laugh at the enforcement or lack of any of these laws.Hit them hard, real hard. $1k per offense & a third will mean loss of license & car impoundment. I’m tired of these people killing innocent drivers.

  5. Wheres common sense when you need it says:

    The reason these laws can’t be enforced is because the officers on duty are to busy on their cell phones or playing on the in car laptops. As a truck driver I see them all the time and just wonder. Some of the worst offenders and they are exempt. But as Eastsider said, distracted drivers are a problem no matter what they are doing. DRIVE or STAY HOME!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Ronald G Miner Jr says:

    Your Honor I was dialing my phone. I was not texting.

    Officer how far away from this person would you say you were when you witnessed them texting

    I would say 75 feet

    And you can tell the difference between dialing and texting from 75 feet?

    Well er…

    Case dismissed..

  7. Ms. T says:

    well, I see accidents increasing because you are going to have people sneaking to read and text, which is a worse distraction then being allowed to do it. More accidents, more innocent lives taken. smh.

  8. JG says:

    There should be a ban on ALL hand held electronic devices while driving. Period! It should be a ticketable offense along with points. This is the only way it can be enforced.

  9. Jamie Phelps says:

    At this rate you’re not gonna be able to drink or listen to the radio while driving. Doing anything other than staring at the road could be considered distracted driving.

    1. Willie man hanging says:

      Jamie, that’s all you’re supposed to be doing when behind the wheel u idiot. Stop picking your nose & scratching your nuts.

  10. bernard F Mc Kernan says:

    People being selfish & wanting to do what they want & want it now is the true cause of these distractive drivers & costing innocent lives. All the laws in the world mean nothing unless they are enforced.

  11. biz1 says:

    Banning all electronic handheld devices. Does this include ipods? Do people also use a phone to play music through the stereo, I do. If I press play on my phone is that considered texting if seen from a distance. How about a navigation system? I will say there are a million distractions and way too many people whom can not walk and chew gum at the same time. Let’s take full responsibility for our own actions. Let’s use these laws to not pull everyone over every time you reach to switch on your 4 wheel drive system. If you cause a accident and you were texting or on the phone you should then automatically be at fault and all responsibility is on you.

    1. trooper101 says:

      Biz1, You know damm well what the law is so stop trying to pick the rat sh..t out of a comb….F….k ‘g moron wise guy.

  12. karen says:

    Next thing will be – we don’t be able to look at our GPS!

  13. JG says:

    You shouldn’t be doing anything that distracts you while driving! It takes a split second to get in an accident. I don’t understand why anyone would be complaining about this law. I see people everyday weaving, running off the road, and most often driving 30 mph on the highway because they are too busy talking on their cell phones or doing something else distracting! PAY ATTENTION when you are driving!

  14. mr faquer says:

    where are the statistics, the facts that show that using a handled communications device while driving has caused an increase in accidents and fatal accidents. All of these laws have been passed but i have yet to see any hard facts that back up this legislation. I am not saying cell phones havent caused a rise in accidents i just havent seen the facts. I mean i could start lobbying today to ban driving with one hand but i would have to prove it is dangerous…with facts

  15. samthe man says:

    Mr. Faquer, Your question is so stupid like yourself you knucklehead, that it doesn’t deserve a response because the stats have been put out to the public for several years now. Now stay on the porch & let the big dogs run with this.

  16. Brian says:

    As with most laws in MD. The law on cell phone use in a car is ill thought out and unworkable..
    Let me tell the idiots who think it’s safe to phone and text whilst driving. I have never been run off the road by a drunk driver but i have by an idiot using a cell phone and I have seen several cars running red lights as they are so intent on their phone conversation and don’t see the lights change. I could go on

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