Maryland Text Messaging and Cell Phone Laws

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Maryland prohibits texting and use of handheld cell phones for all drivers. Novice drivers are prohibited from all cell phone use.

Cell Phone Use

All drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones

Novice drivers in Maryland - drivers who have learners permits or intermediate/provisional licenses, or are younger than 18 – are prohibited from using cellphones (handheld or hands-free) while driving.

If handheld cell phones are prohibited, then what’s permissible? Here are the common options:

  • abstinence (don't use a cell phone while driving)
  • speaker phone (you may have to talk loud)
  • use a bluetooth wireless device (those devices that people stick in their ear)
  • use a wired headset (economical and they come with many phones)
  • install a car kit (a more expensive proposition)

Texting Laws

All drivers are prohibited from texting while driving.

Bus Drivers

Bus drivers are prohibited from using handheld cell phones and from texting.

How is it Enforced?

Fines for violating Maryland’s cell phone laws range from $40 to $100. Maryland’s texting law is considered “primary” law. A primary law means that an officer can pull you over for the offense without having to witness some other violation. That is, the officer sees you texting and issues a citation.  Maryland’s cell phone laws are secondary laws. A secondary law refers to the fact that an officer can only pull you over and issue a ticket if the officer has witnessed some other violation – for example, you ran a stop light while using a handheld cell phone.

Read more about Maryland’s distracted driving laws.

Other Maryland Information

The links below provide additional information found on this website surrounding driving laws in Maryland.

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