Oct1_NewLaws(September 12, 2013) – On October 1, 2013, a legislation change will go into effect regarding traffic safety regulations. Maryland police will now be able to stop drivers for hand-held cell phone use and all passengers in a motor vehicle will be required to wear a seat belt.  Fines for first-time cell phone use violators will increase from $40 to $75 and passengers that are not buckled up could face an increase in fines from $25 to $50.

“Distracted driving because of cell phone use and texting is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle collisions,” said Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 11 percent of fatal auto accidents and 17 percent of “injury crashes” in 2011 have cited distracted driving as a contributing factor.  Drivers should always remember to park the phone before driving.”

Parking the phone is not the only simple thing that can be done to protect safety on the roads. Wearing a seatbelt is one of the single most essential choices a citizen can make while in a vehicle. The NHTSA reports that in 2011, seat belts saved an estimated 11,949 lives nationwide. This includes back seat passengers, not just those in the front seat.

Ocean City police are dedicated to protecting the safety of drivers and will enforce the new legislation changes beginning October 1. Buckling a seatbelt or staying off cellphones are two of the simplest things that can be done to prevent a vehicle collision.