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What are the cell phone driving laws in Maryland?

Maryland has been kicking up its efforts to curb highway auto accidents in recent years with distracted driving becoming a major focus. According to the state's Moving Vehicle Administration, distracted driving is responsible for an average of 27,000 injuries and fatalities annually with cell phone use being a common variable.

It is no surprise that Maryland has begun to crack down on cell phone distraction by prohibiting drivers from using hand-held devices. You can use your hands to operate the phone only to initiate a phone call, to end one or to turn the device on or off. Emergencies provide an exception to this rule as hand-held phones can be used to dial 9-1-1 or make other necessary emergency calls. Any other communication must be made using a hands-free system. Violations can result in a fine and, if the act results in a crash, you can be given points against your license.

Texting and driving is completely off the table as it is illegal to write, read or send a text message while driving a vehicle, along with any electronic messages. If you violate this law, you can face both a fine and be given a point. If a car accident results, both the fine and point amount increase.

Maryland also has "Jake's Law" on the books, which addresses cases in which serious injury or a fatality occurs. If the you are using a hand-held cell phone or engaging in texting and driving when the auto accident occurs, you can receive up to three years in prison as well as a fine of up to $5,000.

This post is meant as an educational resource and should not be substituted for legal counsel.

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