It is officially against the law to text while driving in Maryland now. The ban became active just a few days ago but the law is riddled with some interesting flaws. As this report from WBAL radio points out, the texting while driving law isn’t cut and dried.
If you are cited for texting while behind the wheel you could face a $500 fine. This is considered a traffic offense, not a crime like some other criminal traffic laws on the books. However, a $500 fine is nothing to shake a stick at.
The points of interest in this law include the fact that you cannot be fined for reading text messages, only for actually texting. So, receiving messages will not get you in trouble, only responding to them will.
Next, the law says nothing about posting to social networking sites while driving. With so many people constantly updating their statuses or sending tweets on Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites, it is interesting that the texting law “is silent” on this issue.
Lastly, it isn’t clear if the law applies to emailing. Many people use their phone to email correspondences while on the move. Similar to texting, it requires the same amount of attention and distraction, but the law does not address this.
One of the major points of concern here is the determination that a drive has been actively texting while driving must be made by an officer. So, it seems the officer would have to witness the texting. How an officer, even when next to you at a stop light, would be able to determine if you are texting or simply dialing a number (or updating one of many social networking sites) is beyond me.
The application of this law will be interesting to say the least and I expect to see some arguments in traffic court over many $500 fines should the police choose to enforce this one on any regular basis.
If you find yourself facing fines and potential jail time and you think the reasoning is questionable, call me. There are many criminal traffic offenses on the books in Maryland and they are not to be taken lightly. Contact me today to see how having an aggressive defense attorney on your side can help on your day in court.