September 27, 2013 Events  No comments

Cell Phone Ban (TR21-1124.2)

Effective October 1, 2013, Maryland’s cell phone law now prohibits a driver from using a handheld cell phone while a motor vehicle is in motion. This is a primary offense. Law enforcement officers can stop a driver solely for using a handheld cell phone; no other offense is needed.

Drivers will receive a fine (including court costs) of up to:
▪ $83 – first offense
▪ $140 – second offense
▪ $160 – third & subsequent offense

Why do we have this new law?
-Nationally, 80% of vehicle crashes involve some sort of driver inattention
-On average, more than 30,000 people in Maryland are injured annually as a result of distracted driving crashes.2

Seat Belt Law (TR22-412.3)

Effective October 1, 2013 Maryland has a primary seat belt law for front seat occupants AND a secondary seat belt law for back seat occupants. Tickets can be issued to drivers and front seat passengers even if no other violation is observed. Each person that is not buckled up (driver and passenger) may receive a ticket (including court costs) of up to $83 for not wearing a seatbelt.

In the case where any passenger under the age of 16 years of age is not buckled up, the driver may receive a ticket for each offense. For instance, if a driver is stopped and not wearing a seat belt, and a passenger under the age of 16 is also not restrained, the driver may receive an adult seat belt ticket (including court costs) of up to $83 for himself and a ticket (including court costs) of up to $83 for the passenger.

Why did Maryland move to an all seating position seat belt law?
-Seat belts save lives. Motorists are 75% less likely to be killed in a rollover crash if they are buckled up.
-For the period 2007-2011, 68,151 backseat occupants of passenger vehicles were involved in a reported crash in Maryland. Of these, there were 127 fatalities, 75% of which were reported to be unbelted. Additionally, there were 6,243 occupants who sustained a moderate or severe injury. Those reported as unbelted were 67% more likely to sustain a moderate to fatal injury.
-Belted drivers were 50% more likely to sustain a moderate to fatal injury as the result of a motor vehicle crash when the occupant seated directly behind them was unbelted as compared to drivers who were seated in front of a belted occupant. 4

Data shows that in Maryland, for every 100 drivers aged sixteen & seventeen, 8 are likely to be involved in a crash in the next year; 2 of those will result in a serious injury or fatality.4

According to 2012 data, in Maryland drivers ages 16-20 were 50 percent more likely to be involved in a crash when compared to drivers ages 25-29.4


-Park the Phone Before You Drive! Talking on a handheld cell phone or texting is a leading source of driver distraction.
-Manage Your Time. Driving is not the time to talk or text on a cell phone.
-Drive Defensively. Just because you don’t drive distracted doesn’t mean that others won’t.
-Ride Responsibly. If you are a passenger and a driver is using a handheld cell phone, ask them to pull over or wait until they arrive at the destination. Avoid causing distractions as well.

Buckle Up Every Time, Day and Night, In Every Seat! Motorists should buckle up every time they go out, both day and night, and in all seating positions.
-Wearing a seat belt is your best defense against unsafe drivers. Buckling up is the single most important step you can take to save your life in the event of a crash.
-Law enforcement agencies across Maryland are prepared to ticket anyone not buckled up…no warnings and no excuses.
-Set a good example! Adults who use a handheld cell phone while driving or who don’t buckle up are sending children the message that those behaviors are acceptable.

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