Maryland bans text messaging by drivers

Maryland’s governor has signed the text-messaging legislation forwarded to him by the state Senate. It takes effect Oct. 1, 2009.

(This story originally filed March 2009.)

Maryland’s ban on texting by all drivers does not include the act of reading messages, thanks to an amendment tacked on by the House. This is intended to make enforcement easier, since police in theory won’t pull over drivers who are just reading phone numbers. Read about the 2010 legislation to close the loophole.

Gov. Martin O’Malley signed the Maryland texting ban on April 7, 2009. The governor had indicated he’d sign either version of the Maryland texting ban that emerged from the legislature.

Maryland joins neighbors Virginia and the District of Columbia in the no-texting-while-driving club.

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  1. Kara Kingsbury says:

    May I text when I am completely stopped at a red light?

    • The law says “a person may not use a text messaging device to write or send a text message while operating a motor vehicle in motion or in the travel portion of the roadway.” Translation: No texting at red lights. The handheld cell phone law says “while vehicle is in motion” but I wouldn’t want to argue that point with a cop. The Maryland laws calls for secondary enforcement, so unless you were doing something else wrong at the light, you might be safe from being stopped. But why risk it.

  2. Cheryl Hill Ruiz says:

    I have a simple question.

    Texting, which I can’t even do, is writing to someone.

    Does entering a phone number mean you are texting??

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