New Laws Take Effect Today

Electronic signs all over Maryland are telling drivers about the new laws that kicked in today. What exactly is going on? Two offenses that were previously denominated as secondary actions have been changed to primary actions.

As the 90 day legislative report states:

Senate Bill 339/House Bill 753 (both passed) authorize primary enforcement of the prohibitions against the use of (1) a wireless communication device by a minor operating a motor vehicle; (2) a handheld telephone by an adult driver while operating a motor vehicle with a provisional license or learner’s permit; (3) a handheld telephone by an operator of a school vehicle that is carrying passengers and in motion; and (4) the fully licensed driver’s hands to use a handheld telephone, while the vehicle is in motion, except as specified. The bills repeal the provisions of law that limited enforcement to a secondary action when a driver is detained for another violation.

What this means is that previously a police officer could not stop a vehicle if he or she observed the listed violations. A person could only be charged under one of these provisions if the person was first stopped for a different violation. This law now allows officers to stop a vehicle based on observation of one of these violations alone.

The law provides:

§ 21-1124.1. Use of text messaging device while driving prohibited
Definitions (a)(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
(2) “9-1-1 system” has the meaning stated in § 1-301 of the Public Safety Article.
(3) “Text messaging device” means a handheld device used to send a text message or an electronic message via a short message service, wireless telephone service, or electronic communication network.
Use of text messaging device while driving prohibited (b) Subject to subsection (c) of this section, an individual may not use a text messaging device to write, send, or read a text message or an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle in the travel portion of the roadway.
Global positioning systems or contact of 9-1-1 systems (c) This section does not apply to the use of:
(1) A global positioning system; or (2) A text messaging device to contact a 9-1-1 system.
Penalties for violation of section (d)(1) If the Administration receives satisfactory evidence that an individual who is under the age of 18 years has violated this section, the Administration:
(i) May suspend the individual’s driver’s license for not more than 90 days; and (ii) May issue a restricted license for the period of suspension that is limited to driving a motor vehicle:
1. In the course of the individual’s employment;
2. For the purpose of driving to or from a place of employment; or 3. For the purpose of driving to or from school.
(2) An individual may request a hearing as provided for a suspension or revocation under Title 12, Subtitle 2 of this article.

If you are facing criminal or traffic charges in Maryland state or
federal court, call Leonard R. Stamm of Goldstein
& Stamm, P.A. at 301-345-0122 for a free consultation.

Leonard R. Stamm
Goldstein & Stamm, P.A.
6301 Ivy Lane, Suite 504
Greenbelt, MD 20770
(fax) 301-441-4652

Author: West’s Maryland DUI Law


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