“The Free State” becomes the “Hands Free State”

a hands free device while operating a car, bus or truck in motion on a street or highway. In addition, the new law would prohibit a school bus driver or a holder of a learner’s permit, or provisional license who is 18 years of age or older, from driving a motor vehicle while using a handheld telephone. A driver under 18 already is prohibited from using any cell phone.

2. What exceptions are allowed?

Phone calls placed to 9-1-1, ambulance, hospital, fire, or law enforcement agencies are allowed, as are calls made by emergency and law enforcement personnel. A driver is allowed to turn a handheld phone on or off and to initiate or terminate a call.

3. Is the law a primary offense?

The new law is a secondary offense, meaning that a driver must first be detained for another offense, such as speeding or negligent driving, before he or she can be ticketed for a cell phone offense. However, be advised that “negligent driving” is a primary offense in Maryland and can be used as a precursor to citing violators of the new cell phone law.

In tomorrow’s post we will look at the penalties for violating this new law and compare it to the text messaging ban already in effect. Both laws are intended to reduce unsafe driving and reduce the number of crashes and injuries caused by “distracted drivers” on Maryland’s roads.

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