Reminder: New Maryland driving laws became effective October 1

RCM&D would like to remind its valued clients that as of October 1, 2013, new laws became effective regarding the use of hand-held cell phones while driving as well as seat belt safety.

It is now a primary offense for drivers to use handheld cell phones while driving, which means that a police officer may pull drivers over without needing an unrelated violation in order to make the stop. This includes talking on the phone as well as texting.

Fines for first-time violators are $75, $125 for a second violation, and $175 for third or subsequent violations. Drivers may still use their cell phone to call 911 for emergencies. No points will be assessed for drivers over 18 years of age, unless they contribute to an accident.

In addition, fines are increasing for seat belt violations from $25 to $50 per unbelted passenger. Drivers are responsible for paying the fines for any passengers under 16 years of age.

For more information, visit http://www.mva.maryland.gov/About-MVA/Legislation/2013.htm.