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Maryland's Cell Phone Law Took Effect on October 1, 2010

Set forth below is some important information about the law:

What does the law provide?

The new law prohibits drivers from using a cell phone without a hands free device while operating a motor vehicle in motion on a street or highway. The law also prohibits school bus drivers or a holder of a learner's permit, or provisional license from talking on a cell phone while driving.

Are there any exceptions?

Drivers are allowed to make calls to 911, ambulance, hospital, fire, or law enforcement agencies are allowed. The law also allows a driver to turn a handheld phone on or off and to initiate or terminate a call.

Is the law a secondary or primary offense?

It is a secondary offense. This means that the driver must be pulled over for another offense, such as speeding or negligent driving. In other words, you cannot be pulled over for talking on a cell phone. You can only be ticketed if you are pulled over for something else, and are also talking on a cell phone. Drivers should be aware that "negligent driving" is considered a primary offense, which can be used by a police officer to justify ticketing a driver for talking on a cell phone.

Can points be assessed, or is there just a monetary fine?

Points are not assessed to a first time offender. The fine is $40, for a first time offender. Drivers fined with subsequent offense will receive a $100 fine. Drivers assessed with a second or subsequent offense are assessed one point on their driving record. In addition, three points will be assessed talking on a cell phone contributed to a crash.