September 26, 2013

New Cell Phone & Seat Belt Laws Begin Oct. 1

By Jaklitsch Law Group of Jaklitsch Law Group on Thursday, September 26, 2013.

large_cellphonedriveHere’s what you need to know before you get behind the wheel in October.

Hand held phone calls:

Driving in Maryland is going to change next week.

Starting October 1, holding a cell phone in your hand to talk will become a primary offense. Maryland became a hands free state in 2010 but it was a secondary offense, meaning that a police officer would have to have some other reason to pull you over and then if you were also talking on a hand held phone the driver could be ticketed for that as well. In a few days, the police will need no more motivation to pull a driver over other than seeing them holding a phone while driving.

Motorists caught using a handheld phone will face fines of $75 for a first offense and then increasing to $125 and $175 for the second and third offenses.

Seatbelt and child seats:

In an attempt to make driving in Maryland safer, the start of the new fiscal year will bring two additional car safety laws.

Seatbelts will need to be worn by everyone in the car, including adults in the backseat and all children under the age of eight, regardless of weight, who are less than 4ft 9 in. will need to be secured into a child safety seat.

These are both secondary offenses but the tickets can be expensive, up to $50 for each person unrestrained inside the vehicle.