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New Traffic Laws Affect Cell Phones and Seat Belts in Maryland

Two new state laws became effective on October 1, 2013, that will change how people drive in Maryland.

Seat Belt and Child Safety Seat Use

An expanded seat belt law dictates that everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt including all back seat passengers.

Also included is the provision that all children under eight years old and under 57 inches tall must be secured into a child safety seat, regardless of their weight. These are both secondary offenses. So a police officer must have some other primary reason for stopping you. But, citations can be costly – up to $50 for each unrestrained person inside the vehicle at the time.

Hand Held Mobile Phones

Starting on October 1st, holding a cell phone in hand to talk while driving is no longer a secondary offense and the police may perform a traffic stop for no other reason than seeing you holding a phone while driving. Although Maryland became a hands-free state in 2010, it was then a secondary offense to drive with a cell phone in hand, meaning that a driver could not be pulled over exclusively for talking on a hand held phone. To be able to ticket for a secondary offense, a police officer would have had to have some other primary reason to pull you over.

Now, drivers who are ticketed for using a handheld phone will face a fine of $75 for a first offense, with second and third offenses coming with fines of $125 and $175, respectively.

Auto Insurance Tip

If you have not done so recently, this might be a perfect time to contact your insurance agent to review your auto insurance policy. This assures that you will have the best coverage at the best rate available as you take to the road.

Here at the Daniel C. Howley Insurance Agency, we are always available to help you explore your auto insurance options.  Why not contact us at your convenience?

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We are committed to keeping your auto insurance rates as low as possible while still providing the best coverage.
 

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