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Md. Lawmakers Debate Texting Bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — More changes may be coming this year in the use of wireless devices on Maryland streets and highways.

Political reporter Pat Warren has the latest action in the General Assembly Wednesday.

The Maryland General Assembly continues its assault on distracted driving.  The House has now passed three bills that extend prohibitions to include reading a text and using a hand-held cell phone at red lights and stop signs and making it a first offense.

Most drivers seem to be on board with that.

“I don’t even listen for it when it’s ringing,” said one driver.

“It’s very irresponsible,” said another.

Now it’s the Senate’s turn to act and some lawmakers have their doubts.  Senate Judicial Proceedings Chairman Brian Frosh says making handheld cell phone use a first offense is unpredictable in his committee.

“If I were a betting man, I would bet the vote is 6-5.  I just can’t tell you if it’s six in favor and five against or five in favor and six against,” Frosh said.

But the text reading prohibition seems to be winning the day.

“All of us need help, including myself.  I have a tendency to read while driving and if it’s a law, I’ll set a good example for my children, my grandchildren and my constituents,” said Senate President Mike Miller.

A Senate committee hearing is scheduled for March 29.

More from Pat Warren
  • Scott'S County

    My 2011 Nissan Xterra has a built in hands free bluetooth speaker phone system that great in that I can make and receive calls with the push of just one button on the stering wheel. I’m for laws limiting distractions, but they can go too far if they get over zelous. I mean, this could go as far as tuning your radio or taling to your passengers. We got to be careful because big brother is always ready to look over shoulder and take your hand and lead you to where you don’t want to go.

  • willie man hanging

    Scott, STFU a…hole & stop bragging about your POS Jap car that’s taken jobs away from Americans. Everyone knows that the new vehicles have built in bluetooth but how many can afford a new car or truck in this economy? Ban all these devices from being used period while driving & a $500 ticket first time if caught & suspension & a $1k fine the second should get some attention. When the lawmakers get serious instead of playing with their joysticks in Annapolis, then people will smarten up a bit & make a dent in this technology madness. I drove in the 70’s 80″ without a cell phone & frankly did fine. All you do today is get a f……k voice mail or a text back. Nobody talks anymore.

  • Doug

    But the Body shops and hospitals need your business

  • jess

    You don’t need a new vehicle to be able to afford a Bluetooth ear piece or even have it installed at some electronics store. Not being able to afford certain items is a personal issue. I think the law has deterred it significantly. I haven’t seen many drivers on phones anymore. Bu they are still bad drivers…go figure.

  • Kimberly Schlee Stephens

    I think until mobile phones & mobile providers make it MUCH easier for voice commands: pick up phone to call, # dialing, and disconnect call … NO ONE can be sure that one is or isn’t texting instead of just dialing a # to call.

    I know that MY voice commands SUCKS & always renders the wrong call info; therefore, it is easier to quickly dial the # I am trying to call.

    There will NEVER EVER be a way or ways to make driving distraction-free. Kids, animals (pets), things moving around in car, music/stereo, adjusting heat/AC, sneezing, general looking around, individuals talking in the car to each other or arguing, etc. It is impossible to take away all of the distractions that drivers encounter.

    I think Police need to see how people are driving while using their phone. Some are very multi-tasking.

    In addition, the hands-free devices need to high quality. The one I got from AT&T was $50 & have many people saying they can’t hear me well or I cut out.

    Let’s be realistic. Maybe we should add cell phone handling to our driving school lessons & tests & put a special notation on each driver’s license. Maybe that is a better answer as well as making all our hands-free devices & mobile phones proficient in their function.

    I hope this all makes sense.

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