MARYLAND, November 21, 2013 — Maryland State Police officers say they have given out more than 1600 tickets for hand held cell phone use since that state officially panned the use of all handheld devices while operating motor vehicles.
The ban, which took effect on October 1st, makes using a handheld cell phone a primary offense in the state of Maryland- meaning that police officers can pull a driver over if they see them using their phone. Previously, use of a cell phone while driving had been a secondary offense- meaning that drivers could only be ticketed for use of a cell phone if they had already been pulled over for another offense, such as speeding.
The move is a strong stance toward safer driving, and is along the same lines as a law already on the books in Washington D.C. According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, 58% of all automotive accidents involved distracted drivers. They also estimate that almost half of the 511 automotive fatalities that year were caused by distracted driving.
Drivers in Maryland who earn a ticket for cell phone use have to pay a $83 fine for a first offense, a $140 fine for the second offense, and $160 fine for any offense after that.
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