Eight Drivers Issued Tickets; 13 Issued Warnings in Takoma Park for Cell Phone Violations While Driving – Community Advisory

Since October 1, 2013, when the new cell phone law went into effect, eight drivers have been issued cellphone violation tickets and 13 were issued warnings for not using hands-free devices in Takoma Park.

Beginning October 1, 2013, police in Maryland, pursuant to new law, were given the authority to pull drivers over for talking on a hand-held cell phone as a primary offense. Even if your phone is on speaker, if you’re holding it in your hand, you are violating the law.

Drivers caught driving while using a hand-held mobile phone can be fined $83 for a first-time offense, up from $40 from the previous law; $140 for a 2nd offense and $160 for a 3rd and subsequent offense. The ticket carries no points unless the action contributed to an accident, in which three (3) points will also be assessed in addition to the fine.

Driving while talking on a hand-held cell phone was already against state law, but it was a secondary offense, meaning police had to have another primary reason to pull a driver over, such as speeding.

Drivers still have other options with hands free devices like blue-tooth, but police stress the safest method is pulling your car off the road to make calls. Talking or texting on a cell phone is the number one source of driver distraction.

You can make our roadways safer by keeping your hands on the wheel, not on a phone. "Hang up and Drive." It’s Maryland law.

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Use your cell phone to send an anonymous tip to the Takoma Park Police Department.

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If you see a crime in progress, contact the Takoma Park Police at 301-270-1100. If you need to report an emergency that involves the need for fire or rescue services, call 9-1-1.