The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office reminds motorists that in just a couple weeks, new traffic laws will go into effect in the State of Maryland.
Police will be enforcing the following laws starting Oct. 1:Hand Held Cell Phones
Drivers operating motor vehicles while utilizing hand-held cell phones can be stopped as a primary offense. This means that law enforcement can pull over drivers using hand-held cell phones without needing an unrelated violation in order to make the stop. The fines for a first offense will increase from $40 to $75.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates for 2011 show that 11% of fatal auto accidents, and 17% of personal injury collisions cited distracted driving as a contributing factor, according to the news release. This law will cover both texting and talking with a hand-held device.
Maryland will require all occupants of motor vehicles to wear a seat belts as of Oct. 1. This includes the mandatory use of child safety seats for all children younger than age eight (unless the child is 4 feet, 9 inches or taller), as well as mandatory seat belt use for all other occupants, regardless of where they are seated in the vehicle.
Fines for seat belt violations will increase from $25 to $50 per violation.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, in 2009 there were 23,382 occupant vehicle fatalities in the United States. Of those, 12,432, or 53 percent were not wearing seat belts.