As you may have heard, several new laws went into effect last week in Maryland created with the hope that they will reduce accidents and deaths on the road. I thought it would be helpful to review these new laws and the consequences tied to them so you can avoid a substantial fine since many of our readers drive in Maryland.
The Maryland State Legislature passed several bills with the goal of reducing distractions while driving. The most notable is Senate Bill 339 which has made driving while using a cellphone without a hands-free device a primary offense. This bill also made it illegal for anyone driving a school bus to use a cell-phone while in motion with passengers and bars drivers under 18 from using a cellphone, even with a hand-free device, while operating a vehicle. Fines for violating these rules have also increased; the initial ticket increased from $40 to $75, the second ticket increased from $100 to $125, while the third and all subsequent offenses will cost a whopping $175. Those are some pretty hefty costs for that phone call, text message, or internet search.
In addition to the cellphone law, House Bill 759 created the misdemeanor of Distracted Driving. Distracted Driving is defined as “preoccupying activity” that takes the driver’s attention away from the road. Although this law is only a secondary offense, meaning it cannot be the sole reason an officer pulls over a driver, it can come with a fine up to $500 which is quite the pretty penny. Maryland’s government is hoping you agree; their goal with these new distracted driving laws is to reduce the number of fatalities and accidents by increasing the amount of time drivers spend with both hands on the wheel.
Maryland’s legislature also passed House Bill 36 which requires all occupants of a car or truck, regardless of location in the vehicle to wear a seatbelt. For children under 4’9” a car seat or a booster seat are required. The bill also increased the fine for a seatbelt related infraction from $25 to $75 in addition to up to $75 of court fees.
Here’s hoping the changes in state law improve safety and decrease the risk of accidents for all motorists, and pedestrians, in Maryland.
Tom Curcio, the driving force behind Curcio Law, is a dedicated trial lawyer with more than 35 years of experience in Northern Virginia. He has dedicated his career to representing people who have been seriously injured through no fault of their own. He works tirelessly to obtain the compensation his clients are legally entitled to…
Rakin Hamad is a graduate of the George Mason Law School and joined Curcio Law as an associate in August 2018. Rakin works closely with Tom Curcio and staff in preparing cases from the initial client meeting through trial and has been a perfect fit for the firm. During law school, Rakin interned at the…
Justin Curcio received his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law in 2015, where he was awarded an academic scholarship. During law school, he worked for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the law firm of Bartlett, McDonough & Monaghan, LLP. Justin also spent a semester studying law at the University of Glasgow…
Julia Martinez, a Florida native, joined Curcio Law as a paralegal in 2013. She began her legal career in 1998 working at a personal injury firm that primarily handled automobile accidents, slip and falls, and products liability cases. Then, in 2008 she expanded her knowledge by working at two other law firms. She obtained her…
As the firm’s office manager, Kathy McAfee is dedicated to making sure the office runs smoothly and that the team has what it needs by way of resources, technology, and supplies to best serve our clients. Kathy graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Roanoke College in 1986 and afterward, returned to Alexandria. She began…
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