Montgomery County Police won’t be issuing warnings tomorrow, the first day police can pull over drivers solely for texting while driving.
The state’s ban on handheld cell phone use while behind the wheel becomes a primary offense on Oct. 1, meaning police won’t have to see you committing another violation to make a stop. At a press event on Monday morning, police officials from a number of agencies around the county said there will be no warning period.
Also in effect tomorrow, all back-seat passengers age 16 and older will be required to wear a seatbelt and there can’t be more passengers in a vehicle than there are seatbelts.
“Today is the last day that anyone in the state of Maryland should expect that they can get away with talking on their handheld cell phone while driving, or riding in a vehicle without being buckled up,” Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger said in a prepared release. “For cell phone use while driving, our united law enforcement message is clear — Hang Up or Hands Free, It’s Maryland Law.”
The fines for the handheld cell phone citation were recently changed by a District Court judge. First-time offenders will be fined for $83, the second offense will cost drivers $140 and the third and subsequent offenses will cost $160. Points will only be assessed if the violation contributes to a collision.
The fine for non-compliance with the seatbelt law was also changed to $83.