BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland’s law against using a handheld phone while driving went into effect in 2013, but according to a state lawmaker, the problem has only gotten worse.
A Howard County delegate wants to hit drivers where it hurts, in the wallet, to prevent them from hurting themselves and others on the road.
Harford county resident Russell Hurd’s daughter was killed by a texting driver
“And she was traveling with her fiance to meet her mom and I at the wedding planner when she was struck by a tractor-trailer at a traffic light and killed instantly.”
Susan Yum’s son Jake was killed by a distracted driver. Maryland’s law passed in 2013 is named in his honor.
When you’re driving a car you should be doing nothing other than that, but getting drivers to drop the phone hasn’t worked as well as some would like.
When you’re on your cell phone, you’re not allowed to be texting or checking your messages.
“It’s something that I see every time I drive from here to Annapolis,” says Howard County Delegate Frank Turner
Delegate Turner cites data showing in 2014 — 38,000 drivers were cited for using phones behind the wheel. Last year the number was 41,000.
He tells WJZ it has a lot to do with the increased amount of cellphone use.
Right now first, second and third offenses range between $75 and $175 dollars. His proposal: gives judges the ability to impose fines up to 500 dollars.
The numbers are not falling when you’re constantly over the last three years giving out about 40-thousand tickets a year and we have so many alternative devices to use.
Hands-free devices and radio GPS among them.
The exceptions of making handheld calls to 9-1-1 and hospital emergencies stay the same.
The bill was first introduced last session but did not get a hearing in the senate.