MARYLAND

Maryland strengthens distracted driving law

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland lawmakers have strengthened distracted driving laws.

The General Assembly passed a measure on Monday to make talking on a handheld cellphone while driving a vehicle a primary offense. Under the bill, a police officer could pull over a driver for talking on a handheld while the vehicle is in motion.

A driver who is talking on a handheld cellphone at a red light when the vehicle isn't moving could not be ticketed.

Now, a driver who is talking on a cell phone while driving can only be ticketed if he has been pulled over for another violation.

The first offense would be punishable by up to a $75 fine. A second offense could bring a ticket of up to $125, and a third could result in a $175 fine.

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