Stronger ban on texting and driving takes effect Sat
Until now, drivers were barred from writing text messages while negotiating traffic but permitted to read them.
"When you are driving, your eyes should be on the road," said Sen. Jim Brochin, a Baltimore County Democrat who pushed the bill.
It’s bound to be the most noticeable of several hundred new laws that officially go on the books starting Saturday. Other new rules toughen penalties for drunk driving, gun possession and animal abuse.
Maryland drivers also aren’t supposed to talk on their cell phones per a year-old law, but doing so is remains a “secondary offense” meaning police can only pull over a driver who is also breaking another rule.
Drivers will still be able to use GPS systems on their phone while driving, or text an emergency operator.
Drivers who contest the tickets and lose in court will be guilty of a misdemeanor and have to pay the full $500.