On March 23, 2010, The Maryland Senate passed legislation making it illegal for drivers in the state of Maryland to use hand held cell phones while driving. 20 other states, including the District of Columbia and Virginia have implemented a similar ban. U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood says that some states have even banned the sending and receiving of text messages while driving as well. These states are requiring drivers to use hand free devices/blue tooth headsets.
The implementation of these laws in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia are taking us a step closer to banning cell phone use all together while driving. The National Safety Council blames 1.4 million automobile accidents a year on drivers who use their cell phones while driving, whether it is texting or simply talking on the phone.
The fine for the first offense would be $40.00, but would not apply to emergency calls.
These laws provide a platform for education and enforcement efforts for safer roads in Maryland. 17,344 young drivers in Maryland were involved in automobile accidents in 2008, this number represents 18.2 percent of total crashes in Maryland. Out of these, 106 resulted in deaths. It is no wonder that the Department of Transportation continues to push for stronger traffic laws.
Maryland, is however, the fourth safest for Teen drivers in the United States. Neil J. Pederson, a Safety Representative for the Maryland State Highway Administration and Governor's Highway Safety says, "there is room for improvement and we have more work to do to protect and educate the State's youngest and arguable most vulnerable drivers."