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Harsh Maryland cell phone law would threaten freedom and work

The Maryland House of Delegates recently voted on a piece of legislation that would make talking on a cell phone while driving a primary offense throughout the state. Currently, the use of a cell phone while driving is a secondary offense in Baltimore.

The difference between a primary and a secondary traffic violation is that a police officer may stop and cite you for a primary offense but not for a secondary offense alone. Drivers may receive a citation for a secondary offense only if they were originally stopped for a distinct primary violation such as speeding.

While the cell phone legislation has yet to be voted on in the Maryland State Senate for final passage, many residents and visitors have reportedly expressed their dissatisfaction with the law. Cell phone laws aimed at younger, more inexperienced drivers were reportedly viewed in a more favorable light than a blanket law that would prohibit all drivers from exercising their freedom to talk while driving.

Most drivers understand that there is a potential risk involved with diverting their attention to answer a phone call or read a text message while driving. Adult drivers who are unable to operate their vehicle in a safe manner should be cited on a case-by-case basis. And with all new, less experienced drivers, strict laws aimed at preventing distracted driving are understandable.

However, experienced drivers who are able to successfully drive and talk should not be penalized. Many businessmen and women take client calls while sitting in traffic or traveling. This law may have a serious impact on their bottom line and productivity, a consequence that is unwanted given the current state of the economy.

Source "Cell phone users not sold on legislation," Lauren Fulbright, 16 Mar. 2011

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