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New Maryland Hands-Free Law Goes Into Effect October 1st.

Maryland SB 321: the Delegate John Arnick Electronic Communications Traffic Safety Act goes into effect on October 1 2010.  This law requires people who are operating motor vehicles in the state of Maryland to use a hands-free device.

This is considered a secondary offense, meaning that a driver must be pulled over for a primary offense, speeding, following too closely, or some other offense.  The fine on the first offense is $40 and every offense thereafter is $100.

This is not the first legislation aimed at cell phone use behind the wheel in Maryland.  SB 98: Prohibits the writing  of text messages on Maryland’s public roadways. This went into effect October 1, 2009.  This is considered a primary offense (meaning a driver can be pulled over for this alone) and can be subject to a fine of up to $500.

This is becoming an issue for all users of cell phones throughout the country.  Below I have added all the current states requiring use of hands-free devices. Keep in mind these are only laws that are statewide laws.

Alabama – none

Arizona – none

Arkansas – Text messaging prohibited for all drivers.  Drivers 18-20 must use hands-free

California – 18+ hands-free needed, text messaging in any form prohibited.

Colorado – text messaging in any form prohibited.  Drivers under 18 prohibited from cell phone use.

Connecticut – 18+ must use hands-free, texting prohibited for all drivers ($100/$150/$200)

Delaware – none presently Jan 3, 2011 Handheld cell phone use and use of Web prohibited for all drivers, hands free ok

DC – none

Florida – none

Georgia – Text messaging banned ($150 fine) Drivers under 18 – banned from hands-free

Idaho – none

Illinois – Text messaging prohibited for all drivers

Indiana – Under 18 – may not use wireless devices

Iowa – Text messaging banned for all drivers. (Currently in warning period)

Kansas – Text messaging banned all drivers $60

Kentucky – Text messaging banned all drivers $25 first offense, $50 thereafter, and court costs

Louisiana – Text messaging banned all drivers up to $175 then $500. Under 18 all wireless device use prohibited

Maine – General distracted driving law penalizes motorists who fail to have their vehicles under control due to wide range of behaviors. Enforcement tied to other traffic offense or accident.” source

Massachusetts – Text messaging banned all drivers (internet activities as well).

Under 18, cell phone use banned.  – both laws effective October 1, 2010

Michigan – Text messaging unlawful all drivers first $100, after $200.

Minnesota – Text messaging banned all drivers.

Missouri – Under 21 prohibited from text messaging

Montana – none

Nebraska – Text messaging banned all drivers. (effective July 1, 2010)

Nevada – none

New Hampshire – Text messaging banned all drivers.

New Jersey – Drivers must use hands-free. $100 plus fines.  Text messaging and USE OF VIDEO GAMES prohibited while driving.

New Mexico – cell phones banned for driving students and drivers of state vehicles

New York – Hands-free for cell phones.  $150 and text messaging banned – secondary enforcement

North Carolina – Text messaging banned all drivers.

North Dakota – none

Ohio – none

Oklahoma – none

Oregon – Hands-free for drivers over 18.  Text messaging banned all drivers

Pennsylvania – none

Rhode Island – text messaging prohibited all drivers. Under 18 cell phone use prohibited

South Carolina – none

South Dakota – none

Tennessee – texting prohibited

Texas – Under 17 prohibited from wireless drivers.  HANDHELD devices prohibited in school crossing zones

Utah – Text messaging outlawed for all drivers.

Vermont – Text messaging prohibited all Vermont drivers. under 18 banned from cell phone use

Virginia – Text messaging banned for all drivers, cell phone use banned all drivers under 18.

Washington – Texting prohibited. “Drivers are prohibited from holding cell phones and other wireless communications devices to their ears.”

West Virginia – none

Wisconsin – Text messaging prohibited fine ranges from $20-$400  None, but the state outlaws distracted driving, or “being so engaged or occupied as to interfere with the safe driving of that vehicle.” The fine is $173 and 4 points. (goes into effect December 2010)

Wyoming – none

In anticipation of the new law, has teamed up with the fine folks at Motorola to give away a bluetooth a day. All you have to do is follow thedroidguy on twitter and retweet the message below

Follow and RT @thedroidguy 4 your chance to win a #motorola bluetooth once a day til 10/1 when #DMV hands free starts

A winner will be randomly selected every night at 11pm EST.


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