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New Maryland Driving Laws Kick In Oct. 1

On October 1, drivers and passengers in Maryland will have to obey two new laws.

 

HAGERSTOWN, Md.Starting October 1, police in Maryland will be able to pull you over for two new reasons.

One law makes talking on a hand-held cell phone a primary offense, meaning an officer can pull you over for that reason alone. And if you get caught, it will cost you.

"The first offense is going to be $75, the second offense is $125, and the third offense is $175," said Carly Hose of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

That first time penalty for talking on a hand-held cell phone is $40 more than the fine under the old law.

A second law requires all passengers to wear their seat belts.

"It used to be that back seat passengers over the age of 16 were not required to wear a seat belt,” said Hose. “But now, all occupants of the vehicle are required to wear their seat belts and that is a secondary violation."

The fine for violating the new seat belt is $50 for both front and back seat passengers.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office says these new laws are designed to keep roads safe.

According to the MVA’s Highway Safety Office, distracted driving was a factor in almost half last year's fatalities on Maryland’s roads.

"We ask people to try to limit the distractions that they have with their motor vehicles,” said Hose. “Whether it's cell phones, whether it's texting, whether it's changing the radio station. Any of those distractions so they're able to focus on driving."

A citation for holding a cell phone while driving will not add any points to your license unless the violation causes a crash.

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