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Md. Senate Passes Ban On Reading Texts While Driving

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Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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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.)

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