Effective October 1, 2011 Maryland has modified the law prohibiting texting while driving. Last year the legislature made it illegal to text while you were driving an automobile; however, it was classified as a “secondary” offense and no points were attached. Under the new law, texting while operating a motor vehicle, as well as reading a text while driving, is a primary offense. This means that an officer can cite you if he or she merely sees you texting. In addition, you are subject to receiving one point on your driver’s license. Two exceptions have been carved out. Specifically, you can text if you are operating a GPS application or if you are calling 911.
The question remains whether the Police will issue tickets while you are stopped at a traffic light. Under a strict interpretation you are in violation of the law by doing so. Questions surrounding proof of texting while driving as opposed to using a smart phone for other purposes such as music or apps will undoubtedly soon be litigated in Traffic Court.