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.

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