Can I send a text message or talk on my handheld cell phone while driving in Maryland?
No. Maryland bans cell phone use while driving without a hands-free device. This means you cannot have the phone in your hands while driving. Instead, drivers must use a hands-free device, like a Bluetooth headset, if they wish to talk on their cell phone.
Can law enforcement officers pull me over for talking or texting on my cell phone?
Yes. In Maryland, the use of handheld cell phones (includes both talking and texting) while driving is a primary offense. This means law enforcement officers in Maryland have the authority to pull drivers over for talking and/or texting on a cell phone without using a hands-free device. The offense was previously a secondary offense, requiring officers to pull you over for something else before citing drivers for using their phones improperly.
What are the fines associated with getting pulled over while using a cell phone while driving in Maryland?
A first-time offender will be fined $83, including court costs. A second offense will cost $140 and increase to $160 for a third and subsequent offense. In addition, if the violation contributed to an accident, 3 points will also be assessed in addition to the fine.
What if I need to use my cell phone for an emergency?
Drivers can use their phones to call or text 911 in the event of an emergency. Maryland law continues to ban the use of cell phones while driving for school bus drivers, those under 18 and adults who hold learner's permits.