BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Starting Tuesday all over Maryland, you can get pulled over by the police just for having a cell phone to your ear. Until now, it’s been a secondary offense to talk and drive.
Kai Jackson explains the change in law and what police will be looking for.
The new laws may catch some off guard but every driver will have to get used to them quickly.
Maryland drivers will have to be mindful of new laws that take effect Tuesday. Primarily, they deal with safety. Perhaps the one most discussed is the law prohibiting motorists from having a mobile phone in their hands while operating a vehicle.
“You have to be careful,” a driver said. “I mean, it is dangerous.”
Here’s how it breaks down: if you’re caught talking on your phone while driving, it’s a $75 dollar fine the first time, but that increases with each offense.
Those who make the laws and those who enforce them believe distracted driving can be deadly.
“A distracted driver is very dangerous. Visually, if you’re using a cell phone, you’re looking down; you’re not looking at the road,” said Sgt. Marc Black, Maryland State Police.
AAA Mid-Atlantic agrees.
“Preliminary Maryland data from the Maryland Highway Safety Office suggests that of the 511 fatalities on Maryland roads, approximately 50 percent of those were the result of a distracted driver,” said Ragina Averella, AAA.
Some lawmakers have questioned whether police will be able to determine if a driver is using a mobile phone, if the phone isn’t clearly visible.