The Maryland Senate passed, barely (24-23) , a law banning the use of handheld cell phones. Since talking on a hands free device is no less distracting than a handheld phone, this is like making it illegal to steal oranges, but not apples. It also has no teeth.
The fine for first-time offenders is $40, but the bill classifies the offense as secondary, meaning a police officer can only cite a motorist after pulling him or her over for another violation. Police say such measures are very difficult to enforce.
So it's a little like Virginia's texting ban. Based on the close vote, I'm guessing this was all that could be done (though Sen Rona E. Kramer (D-Montgomery) said she voted against the bill because it does not go far enough).
Opponents said the bill was too intrusive and ignored the realities of modern life, in which phones are used for far more than talking.
"Most of us who have teenage kids understand what a big impact this law will have," said Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R-Queen Anne's).
God forbid we inconvenience inattentive teenage drivers. Thankfully, Pipkin is there to protect a 16 year old's right to talk to his friends while he operates the one device most likely to kill people his age.
"We need to educate our citizens, not turn them into lawbreakers."
That's exactly how I feel about murder. Why make it illegal? Why not just educate people about how bad murder is? Do we really need to turn them into lawbreakers?
He also predicted the bill would be "a blank check for law enforcement to pull law-abiding citizens over."
So did he even read the law? Hello, it "classifies the offense as secondary, meaning a police officer can only cite a motorist after pulling him or her over for another violation." If police officers want to pull someone over, I'm pretty sure they can find a reason to do that now. And the only people it would allow them to pull over are those talking on the phone, which is illegal - so, not law-abiding. Really, I read stuff like this, and I just don't understand how some people get elected - except that a lot of people in the comments agree with him.
I've found talking on the phone has helped me from getting drowsy on the road.
That's a wonderful combination. You know what else helps, pulling over and taking a nap. I find drinking while I drive has helped keep me from experiencing road rage.