Montgomery County Council member wants to use cameras to crack down on distracted drivers

A Montgomery County Council member wants Maryland state lawmakers to consider a bill that would use cameras to cite drivers for distracted driving.

County council member Tom Hucker said the cameras would work the same way that red light and speed cameras do.

“This doesn’t expand or change what is currently legal or illegal. This just adds a different way to enforce the law,” said Hucker, a Democrat representing the 5th District, which includes Takoma Park, Silver Spring and Burtonsville.

Currently, drivers who are caught using a hand-held device while a car is in motion can be cited. A first offense includes an $83 ticket but no points.

Under a separate existing law, drivers who are caught texting, or reading texts or email, on their devices while operating a car in the travel portion of the roadway can be issued a $70 ticket and one point on their license for the first offense.

Under Hucker’s proposal, cameras to catch drivers engaged in distracted driving would be used in addition to those already used for speeding and red light violations.

Asked about concerns regarding privacy, Hucker said the same issues came up when the Maryland General Assembly considered red light cameras.

“The courts have said you have no expectation of privacy,” he said. “We expect you to behave the right way when you’re … in the public right of way and driving a vehicle that could be deadly.”

Hucker explained that while his proposal would be restricted to Montgomery County, legislation is needed at the state level.

Maryland’s General Assembly session begins Jan. 8.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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