BALTIMORE (WJZ)– There are tough new rules for cell phones on the roads. Starting Saturday morning, Maryland drivers could get pulled over just for sending or reading a text message.

Andrea Fujii explains why texters are now more likely to get nailed.

About 496 people died on Maryland roads last year, a record low. Now, traffic officials hope this tougher law will make the roads even safer.

Come Saturday, next time you hear a beep, don’t be tempted to read that text and drive.

“I think we’re all guilty of doing it,” said one person.

Starting Oct. 1, it will be illegal for Maryland drivers to read messages or emails while driving. Tickets will be $70 for the first offense and $100 for the second.

“Even if you’re stopped at a red light or stuck in traffic, it is now illegal to read a text message, as well,” said AAA spokeswoman Ragina Averella.

And it will now be a primary offense, which means police don’t need another reason to pull you over.

The law closes the loophole from the previous texting ban enacted one year ago that prohibited sending messages.

So far, 966 warnings and citations have been issued for the current no-texting ban.

Since last year, drivers are also required to use a hands-free phone but WJZ found many drivers breaking the law.

So far, 9,248 have been ticketed for not using a hands-free device. Some people think the new texting ban is a more simple, all-encompassing law that they hope works.

“So it’s hands-free, period, no questions asked,” one driver said. “And I’ve been on that train for awhile because I think it’s a safer way to drive.”

“It should work if they follow the rules, but the fact is, they’re not going to follow the rules,” said another.

These laws don’t apply to texting 911 or using a GPS.

Currently, not using a hands-free cell phone is a secondary offense, but some lawmakers continue to push for it to become a primary offense.

Comments (24)
  1. Clamp Down says:

    “Currently, not using a hands-free cell phone is a secondary offense, but some lawmakers continue to push for it to become a primary offense.”

    PLEASE DO, because all I see everywhere I go are drivers with phones glued to their ears, half-oblivious to what’s going on around them, speeding up and slowing down without cause, drifting into other lanes. HANG UP AND DRIVE. If you need to talk to someone that badly, PULL OVER. You have to no right to endanger others.

  2. SMH says:

    this law is complete BS. Who is to say you weren’t using your iPod on your iPhone, or audio player on your android device? Or using your GPS on your phone. Maybe we should take this law a step further and say you can’t change the station on your radio player when driving, or make it unlawful to switch CDs. Or , you know what, that big mac your eating on your way to the store is now against the law, your obviously distracted eating it, lets give you a ticket.

    1. boboj says:

      SMH: The law is not about eating a Big Mac, changing a radio station or combing your hair. . . it is aboutidiots like you who are so distracted for long peirods of time while trying to concentrate on driving a 2000 pound steel misslle down the highway at 70 mph, just looking for a family in another car to kill!!!

      The law is just about that, statistics prove that more and more people are being killed by cell-phone users while driving. Get yourself a life and if you really need to talk on your cell phone, why nowhave it crazy-glued to your ear so that you can at least have two hands on the wheel while possibly plowing into another car.

  3. concerned says:

    Hey, maybe now officials will take action when school bus drivers text while driving…

  4. OMalleyVampire says:

    more ways to get our money. why not give a point on your license instead of the fine? why keep raising the toll fees and our taxes. virginia is for lovers, maryland is for vampires. you money blood sucking democrats.

    1. You are dumb says:

      so if it’s all about money then how come more warnings were issued than citations? so is it going to be all about money when a member of your family is killed because someone was texting while driving? put your extremist views aside and think logically first.

      1. good grief says:

        you are disrespectful.

  5. Mike says:

    this is not about safety its about MONEY……. Next you will not be able to drink, eat or smoke…….. total BS

    1. You are Dumb says:

      No what is total BS is your comment. So how do we get people to stop texting while driving? Instead of complaining why don’t you come up with some solutions.

      1. good grief says:

        you are still disrespectful.

      2. my heavens! says:

        what’s your solution?

  6. MJ says:

    Well lets just see how many cops obey this law as well! I see way too many on there cell phones in plain clothes while using there cop car as a vehicle and while in uniform. You can’t enforce the law if the law doesn’t abide!

  7. brutallyfrank says:

    yea right, i have to see this ..

    i see police officers driving with their cell phones glued to their ears while they are driving… they won’t be able to because they are just as distracted…hahaha

  8. 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

  9. l r says:

    Tell this to the POLICE who are in their own vehicles !!!! I have already seen ten cars with those POLICE TAGS (F.P., F.O.P., etc) . Some in front of me at a light and not moving when the light turns green.

    1. You are dumb says:

      so which cops did you see breaking the law? which department? did you get the car number and file a complaint with the department? So how many did you see in your fantasy world breaking the law?

      1. good grief says:


  10. Laurel says:

    loving the comments I am sure the ones complaining are the ones that do it…I think it’s sad that we actually have to make laws for such stupidity behind the wheel. Oh btw, you don’t want to the state to suck money out of your wallets adhere the law it’s as simple as that.

  11. ohh yes i did says:

    That’s a shame – I always kill my commute time by unsubscribing to junk mail, catching up on emails and texting all my friends. I might start taking the back roads from now on because I have just received a whole new bunch of junk.

  12. oooh yes i did! says:

    OK That’s a shame – I always kill my commute time by unsubscribing to junk mail, catching up on emails and texting all my friends. I might start taking the back roads from now on because I have just received a whole new bunch of junk.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Watch & Listen LIVE