What are Maryland’s laws—and penalties—for distracted driving?

As all drivers should know, distracted driving can be incredibly dangerous. Every year, about 27,000 people in the United States are injured or killed as a result of distracted driving. Drivers should also know that it is illegal in most states, and Maryland is no exception.

Distracted driving can cover a wide range of activities, from texting to changing the radio dial. It may not be possible to outlaw every single activity that can contribute to distracted driving, but Maryland has made a concerted effort to reduce it wherever possible. So, what types of distracted driving are prohibited in our state? In this post, we will go over Maryland’s distracted driving laws and the penalties if you are caught.

Maryland’s distracted driving laws

In Maryland, drivers are completely banned from using cellphones unless with a hands- free device. That means no talking, no dialing, no navigation apps and no texting. Drivers are allowed to use Bluetooth, speaker phone or a wired headset as an alternative to holding their phone. The one instance in which drivers may use their hands to dial their cellphone is to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.

The penalties for distracted driving

The state takes distracted driving very seriously. There is a wide range of penalties for drivers who violate the law. For a first-time offense, drivers face a maximum fine of $83; for a second offense, a maximum fine of $140; and for a third-time offense, a fine of $160.If the distracted driving incident caused a crash, the court may put points on a driver’s license. As a result of Jake’s Law, a law named in remembrance of a young victim of distracted driving, a driver who causes a serious injury or a fatality while using a cell phone may be fined up to $5,000 and imprisoned for three years.

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Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case...

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