MARYLAND TEXTING WHILE DRIVING LAW CHANGES AS OF OCTOBER 1, 2011

The Ocean City Police Department is reminding citizens who operate a motor vehicle of the revised Maryland distracted driving law regarding texting which took effect October 1, 2011.  Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the legislation, which now prohibits the “reading” of text messages while driving, as well as texting while at stoplights.

The law, which prohibits all drivers in Maryland from using an electronic device to write, send or read a text message while operating a motor vehicle in the travel lanes of the roadway, is a primary offense. The law however does not apply to texting 9-1-1 or using a global position system. The Maryland Texting While Driving Law is a misdemeanor crime and the first offense carries a fine of $70, while a second offense fine is $110. 

The US Department of Transportation reports that an estimated 800,000 vehicles nationally were driven by someone who used a hand-held cell phone during their drive last year.  However, according to Gov. O’Malley,Maryland saw a 9% decrease in traffic deaths in 2010.  The record low number reduced from 550 people lost in 2009, to 496 fatalities in 2010.