Traffic Tips are provided courtesy of the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office

In an effort to promote awareness of state traffic laws, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office will be posting excerpts of the 2018-2019 edition of The Maryland Vehicle Law Annotated.

Adhering to the law will make roadways in St. Mary’s County and in Maryland safer for drivers, passengers, bicyclists, horse-and-buggy operators, and pedestrians.

Cellphone use behind the wheel:

In general, texting and using hands to operate a cellphone is prohibited while driving.

Sec. 21-1124.1 Text messaging prohibited. “An individual may not use a text messaging device to write, send, or read a text message or an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle in the travel portion of the roadway.”

Sec. 21-1124.2 Communications Traffic Safety Act. “A driver of a motor vehicle that is in motion may not use the driver’s hands to use a handheld telephone other than to initiate or terminate a wireless telephone call or to turn on or turn off the handheld telephone.”

Those under 18 years of age are not permitted to use a wireless communications device while operating a motor vehicle with the exception of a 911 call.

General exceptions: Emergency use of a handheld telephone, including calls to a 911 system, a hospital, an ambulance service provider, a fire department, a law enforcement agency or a first-aid squad. Law-enforcement personnel and emergency personnel are also exempted.

A driver texting while operating a vehicle faces a fine of $70 and one point on a driver’s license or $110 and three points if contributing to an accident.

A driver using hands to use a handheld telephone while motor vehicle is in motion faces fines of $83 to $160, plus three points on a license if contributing to an accident.

Use of a text messaging device or handheld telephone while driving that causes an accident that directly results in the death or serious bodily injury of another person is 12 points on a license and the driver must appear in court.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...