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Texting While Driving

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NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,michael.dresser@baltsun.com | February 11, 2009
On the day Russell and Kim Hurd were planning to meet their daughter at Walt Disney World in Florida to plan her wedding, a tractor-trailer plowed into her fiance's car, ending the young woman's life at 26. Russell Hurd told Maryland legislators yesterday that the truck driver had been distracted by text-messaging when he crashed into 10 vehicles stopped at a traffic signal. Heather Hurd and another woman were killed in the pileup near Orlando in January last year. The lawmakers are considering legislation that would add Maryland to the still-short list of states that ban the practice of sending and receiving text messages while behind the wheel - considered by some experts to be the most dangerous and fastest-growing form of distracted driving.
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NEWS
February 17, 2011
Before we move on to new restrictions on distracted driving ("Lawmakers look to outlaw reading texts while driving," Feb. 16), maybe we should evaluate if the laws already on the books about texting or using a hand-held cell phone are working. Based on my observations, there is less of this occurring, but it still happens. On my drive into work in Baltimore, it is usual to see a least 2-4 drivers using cell phones. The worst was this Monday on I-95 about a half mile north of the I-95 and I-895 split.
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NEWS
February 8, 2009
Drivers addicted to their keypads, beware: It soon may be illegal in Maryland to send or receive text messages while you're behind the wheel. It's bad enough when people with hand-held cell phones let themselves be distracted by long, rambling conversations while the scenery flies by. Cell phones have become a major cause of traffic accidents, some of them fatal. But drivers who twitter and tweet via typed messages on BlackBerries and the like are even worse. They have both thumbs on the keypad and both eyes on the screen, when they should be keeping their hands on the wheel and their attention on the road.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz, The Baltimore Sun | February 16, 2011
Not long ago, Sgt. Holly Barrett of the Maryland State Police pulled over a young woman who'd blown through a red light while looking at her cell phone. The driver, Barrett told lawmakers Tuesday, was so distracted that she had stopped, started to read the messages, and then — not realizing the light was still red — stepped on the gas. Two years ago, state legislators outlawed writing or sending messages while driving. Last year, they banned talking on handheld cell phones as a secondary offense, making it illegal, but requiring police to have another reason, such as speeding, to initiate a traffic stop.
NEWS
By Julie Scharper and Julie Scharper,julie.scharper@baltsun.com | September 27, 2009
Rusty Walters doesn't get bored on his commute between Owings Mills and Towson - he has his iPhone for entertainment. With his left hand guiding the wheel, Walters types with his right. His eyes flicker between the road and the phone as he updates his Facebook status, scans Twitter and exchanges text messages. "As soon as I drive out of the garage, I have to check my phone," said Walters, a 24-year-old who works in marketing. "I realize it's not the best idea in the world. There have definitely been many close calls when I'll put my phone down and not use it for the rest of the car ride."
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Julie Bykowicz,julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com | April 2, 2009
Texting while driving, an increasingly popular practice that has caused high-profile accidents in recent years, could result in a $500 fine under a ban approved Wednesday by the Maryland House of Delegates and earlier by the Senate. Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he will sign off on the prohibition, which would take effect Oct. 1, adding Maryland to a short but growing list of states that bar sending messages while behind the wheel. This year, 33 states were considering similar proposals, according to AAA, and Virginia's governor signed a ban into law Monday.
NEWS
March 18, 2009
House OKs taking gun with protective orders The House of Delegates passed two measures yesterday that would take guns from the subjects of protective orders. Supporters, including Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, say the bills help protect victims of domestic violence, but some lawmakers said the measures were nothing more than a "gun grab." One bill would enable judges to order subjects of temporary protective orders, which last seven days and are granted without hearing from the accused, to turn over their guns.
NEWS
April 28, 2009
Work-zone cameras make all of us safer Marylanders will be safer traveling our highways thanks to legislation authorizing speed cameras in construction work zones ("Childish behavior is behind 'nanny laws,'" April 20). This new tool will encourage drivers to do what we all should do: drive responsibly, stay alert and obey posted speed limits. And with clear signs offering advance warning of speed cameras, this will not be a matter of "gotcha." The overriding goal is to slow drivers to a safe and uniform speed, not catch speeders.
NEWS
June 4, 2008
City ERs find ways to curb crowding The Sun's article on hospital emergency room crowding as a national concern reported that "the problem ... grows by the day" ("Our ailing ERs," June 1). But that's not true in Baltimore. Indeed, in Baltimore, key measures of crowding fell in 2007, after stabilizing in 2006. These measures include the number of minutes ambulances wait outside emergency departments and the number of hours ambulances were diverted from hospitals because of lack of capacity.
ENTERTAINMENT
By KEVIN COWHERD and KEVIN COWHERD,kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com | April 5, 2009
With Maryland set to ban texting while driving - and good luck enforcing that one - politicians are practically throwing themselves in front of the TV cameras to take credit for saving lives. Actually, it's amazing we even need a law to prohibit something as dumb as texting while driving. You'd think people would realize how dangerous it is and just not do it. What kind of a dope could possibly roar down a busy highway at 70 mph and think: "Y'know, this is a good time to pull out the cell phone, balance it precariously on the steering wheel and take my eyes off the road while furiously punching those tiny buttons with my fat little fingers."
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz and Annie Linskey and Baltimore Sun reporters | April 12, 2010
We started the final day of the legislative session with 10 issues to watch. Now that we're down to the final hours, here's what's left on the to-do list before the midnight legislative deadline: Gaming: Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller has identified this as a priority for tonight. Enhancements to the deal that the state can offer bidders on the Rocky Gap slots location is considered a must-pass, but the House has not yet acted on it. There could be another wrinkle to the gaming program, since the Senate amended an unrelated House bill so card games will be allowed at Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George's County.
NEWS
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.
NEWS
By Julie Bykowicz | julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com | February 19, 2010
Maryland lawmakers want to tighten a new state law by blocking motorists from reading text messages - not just writing them - as part of their perennial review of distracted-driving issues. The General Assembly has long wrestled with how much to restrict driver cell-phone use. It took its first timid step last year, passing a ban only on sending text messages, a misdemeanor traffic offense that carries up to a $500 fine. This year, lawmakers say, they plan to outlaw text-message reading - and some believe they have enough support for an all-out ban on hand-held cell phone use, forcing chatty Maryland drivers to use hands-free devices.
NEWS
By Michael Dresser and Michael Dresser,michael.dresser@baltsun.com | October 2, 2009
President Barack Obama has signed an executive order instructing federal workers not to send text messages while driving government vehicles or their own vehicles while on the job. Thursday's order came Thursday, the same day a new state law took effect in Maryland prohibiting driving while texting. Thus, the state's 112,000 federal employees could face sanctions from both their state and their employer for violating the texting ban. The announcement by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood came at the conclusion of a two-day conference in Washington on distracted driving.
NEWS
September 30, 2009
State, feds must go further on tobacco I am writing to thank The Sun for the excellent editorial "Addicted at an early age" (Sept. 24) and to clarify a few points. First, while it is a good move for public health for the Food and Drug Administration to ban flavored cigarettes, The Sun is correct to point out that this ban does not include the extremely popular cheap cigars that come in a variety of enticing flavors and are available by the single for less than $1. Nor does the ban include smokeless tobacco products that also come in fruity flavors attractive to kids.
NEWS
September 29, 2009
Maryland's law banning the practice of sending text messages while driving goes into effect Thursday, and not a moment too soon. It comes amid a steady stream of evidence that electronic distractions in the driver's seat pose a serious and growing threat to highway safety. Researchers have found that texting behind the wheel is about as dangerous as driving drunk. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study of truckers found they were 23 times more likely to get in an accident if they texted behind the wheel, a risk about four times greater than dialing a cell phone.
NEWS
September 30, 2009
State, feds must go further on tobacco I am writing to thank The Sun for the excellent editorial "Addicted at an early age" (Sept. 24) and to clarify a few points. First, while it is a good move for public health for the Food and Drug Administration to ban flavored cigarettes, The Sun is correct to point out that this ban does not include the extremely popular cheap cigars that come in a variety of enticing flavors and are available by the single for less than $1. Nor does the ban include smokeless tobacco products that also come in fruity flavors attractive to kids.
NEWS
By Laura Smitherman and Laura Smitherman,Sun reporter | March 14, 2008
A statewide ban on using hand-held cell phones while driving appeared headed for failure in the Maryland Senate yesterday but was resurrected amid fierce debate and a dramatic reversal by one lawmaker. The bill would prohibit talking on cell phones or other wireless communications devices while behind the wheel unless drivers use hands-free accessories such as headphone sets equipped with microphones. It also would ban texting while driving. Lawmakers have tried to pass such legislation for a decade but have met with stiff opposition.
NEWS
By Julie Scharper and Julie Scharper,julie.scharper@baltsun.com | September 27, 2009
Rusty Walters doesn't get bored on his commute between Owings Mills and Towson - he has his iPhone for entertainment. With his left hand guiding the wheel, Walters types with his right. His eyes flicker between the road and the phone as he updates his Facebook status, scans Twitter and exchanges text messages. "As soon as I drive out of the garage, I have to check my phone," said Walters, a 24-year-old who works in marketing. "I realize it's not the best idea in the world. There have definitely been many close calls when I'll put my phone down and not use it for the rest of the car ride."
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