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New Laws: Changes that go into effect beginning October 1st

If you’ve driven the Beltway in Maryland, odds are that you’ve seen the MDOT signs warning that new Traffic laws go into effect starting on October1st.  What the signs don’t tell you is what the new laws are.Here’s a quick explanation:

Cell Phones (Mobile Devices): Transportation Article Section 21.1124.2 has been amended so that persons driving school vehicles and persons holding a provisional license cannot use handheld telephones as all.  As for regularly licensed persons:

“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.”

There is a graduated system of fines for subsequent offenders, but unless there is an accident there will not be points associated with this offense. 

The big news for this charge is that it is no longer a secondary offense, so officers can stop a driver if they see a violation.

Seatbelts:   The changes to Transportation Article Section 22-412.3 go into effect on October 1st.  These new laws require that all occupants of a vehicle must wear seatbelts or be in a child safety seat. Previously, only front seat passengers were required to wear seatbelts as well as children under eight.  Now, all persons in a car need to be secured.  If the non-secured person is over the age of 16 then they receive the ticket, if the person is under the age of sixteen then the driver of the vehicle will receive the ticket. Where the driver will be the person ticketed this is a primary offense, meaning that police can stop a car and issue a ticket even if they do not observe any other violations.