It is now a primary offense for drivers to use handheld cellphones while driving. Police can pull drivers over without needing an unrelated violation in order to make the stop. Lawmakers hope the cellphone ban will cut down on the more than 30,000 injuries a year because of distracted driving. Fines for first-time violators will increase from $40 to $75. Fines for a second violation will be $125, and $175 for a third or subsequent violation, police said.
Maryland also now requires everyone in any vehicle to wear seat belts, and if a person transports more people in a vehicle than they have belts, it is against the law. Fines range from $25 to $50 per unbelted passenger. The driver is responsible for paying the fine for any person under 16.