On October 1, 2013, a new law banning the use of handheld cell phones while driving was put into effect in Maryland. For the last couple of months, it’s been a primary offense to talk on a handheld phone while driving. Make sure that you are careful about how you are driving, and that you put down the phone while operating a vehicle.

 New Law Makes Talking on Handheld Phones a Primary Offense

cell phone driving law ticketTalking on a handheld cell phone has been against the law in Maryland as the result of the passage of a 2010 law. However, under the law talking on a handheld phone was a secondary offense. This meant that you couldn’t be pulled over unless the ticketing officer saw you involved in another violation.

Not only is talking on a handheld phone against the law, but it is also illegal to text while driving. Exceptions are made for calling 9-1-1, or in an emergency, but for the most part, talking or texting on a handheld phone can result in a ticket. If you bring your phone along, make sure you have some sort of hands-free way to talk on your cell phone in order to avoid being pulled over.

The new law, which took effect on October 1, changes the offense to a primary one. This means that you can be pulled over and ticketed if you are talking on a handheld cell phone. Additionally, the fine for a first-time offense rises from $40 to $75. If you are ticketed more than once, the fine increases.

You won’t have points against your license, though, unless the fact that you are talking on a handheld cell phone results in a car accident.

 An Effort to Prevent Car Accidents

Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents all over the mid-Atlantic, as well as around the country. In fact, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic, 58 percent of vehicle accidents in 2012 involved distracted driving — and there are few things as distracting as using a handheld cell phone while driving.

The new law is in line with many others around the country. More and more states are joining in the effort to try and prevent car accidents by banning handheld cell phone use while driving.

Chances are, you have seen others using cell phones while driving, and you might have even experienced some near-misses — or even been involved in accidents when the other person was using a cell phone while driving.

If you have been injured due to the fault of another driver’s distracted driving, you are likely eligible for compensation. You might be able to receive compensation for medical costs, as well as missed wages from work. When you are injured in such a way, it makes sense to contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can work with the other party’s insurer to make sure that you get the full compensation you deserve.

Driving while using a handheld cell phone is now a primary offense in Maryland. You need to be careful with the way you communicate while driving, and you need to be on the watch for other drivers who might not be as careful as you. And when you are in an accident, you need to get help from a professional who can help you sort things out with better results.