House OKs bill banning reading text messages while driving

March 12, 2010

Maryland's House of Delegates approved Thursday a ban on reading text messages while driving, expanding a prohibition the legislature passed last year that made it illegal to send or receive texts.

The legislation also prohibits minors from talking on cell phones while driving, aside from making an emergency phone call. Violations would be punishable with a $500 fine.

The measure still must be approved by the Senate. If the bill becomes law, it will put Maryland in line with 19 other states and Washington, D.C., which do not allow texting while driving. Six states and the District prohibit any use of a cell phone while driving.

Del. Maggie L. McIntosh, a Baltimore Democrat who is head of the Environmental Matters Committee, said she is "hopeful" that her panel will approve additional measures aimed at reducing distracted driving next week.

— Annie Linskey

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