House toughens ban on dialing and driving
Maryland's House of Delegates this morning signaled that they would like to beef-up the state's new ban talking on a cell phone.
With a vote of 91 to 40, the chamber approved a bill that would make talking on a cell phone a primary offense, meaning police officers could pullover any motorists chatting on their phone. Currently they can only issue a citation if motorists are simultaneously violating another rule.
Driving and talking using a hands-free devices would still be allowed. The penalties are unchanged: $40 for the first offense and $100 for the second.
But the bill has a rough road in the Senate, said Judicial Proceeding Committee Chairman Brian Frosh. He's not sure the measure could be passed in his committee.
The original ban on dialing and driving squeaked through the Senate 24 to 23 last year after a lengthy debate and the law went into effect five months ago.
Both chambers recently approved a ban on reading texts while driving. That measure closed a loophole left two years ago when they outlawed writing electronic messages. Motorists can still use GPS programs on their phones.