Maryland’s distracted driving laws generally prohibit all motorists from talking on a handheld cellphone or text messaging while driving. This article discusses the specifics of what the laws prohibit and the costs and other consequences of a texting or cellphone violation.
In Maryland, it’s illegal for all drivers to use a handheld telephone while operating a motor vehicle.
Exceptions. Generally, the cellphone ban doesn’t apply when the call is made for emergency purposes such as calling 9-1-1, a hospital, an ambulance, law enforcement, or the fire department. And the cellphone restriction doesn’t apply to law enforcement and emergency services personnel acting within the scope of their official duties.
Fines and points. A cellphone ticket carries maximum fines of $75 for a first violation, $125 for a second violation, and $175 for a third or subsequent violation. However, the violation won’t add points to the motorist’s driving record unless the violation contributed to an accident. For drivers who are under the age of 18, a cellphone ticket can also result in a license suspension of up to 90 days.
Maryland law prohibits all motorists from writing, sending, or reading a text message while operating a vehicle in the traveled portion of a roadway.
Exceptions. Maryland’s text-messaging ban doesn’t apply to GPS (global positioning systems) or using a text messaging device to contact 9-1-1.
Fines and points. A texting violation is a misdemeanor and carries up to $500 in fines. The violation will also add one point to the motorist’s driving record. And drivers who are under 18 years old may face a license suspension of up to 90 days for a texting violation.
A texting or cellphone violation that leads to serious bodily injury or the death of another person carries additional penalties of up to one year in jail and/or a maximum $5,000 in fines.
Depending on the circumstances, a texting or cellphone violation could also lead to a reckless driving conviction. And if one of these violations results in the death of another person, vehicular homicide charges are a possibility.