Cumberland Times-News


March 23, 2013

Hang up!

Driver use of handheld phone should be penalized

Have you noticed how the word “AMBULANCE” appears on the front of an ambulance? The letters are reversed, and they start at the right and go to the left. That’s so we can see it in our rear-view mirrors and read it instantly.

Somewhere in Allegany County — we have seen it — is a vintage pickup truck that has a message painted in similar fashion across the front of it hood. When read in a rear-view mirror, it says “Hang Up And Drive!”

Those are our sentiments as well, and it appears that members of Maryland’s House of Delegates feel the same way.

Last week, the House voted 106-29 to make talking on a handheld cell phone a primary offense. If passed by the Senate — which it should be — police officers can pull over and issue a citation to drivers they see talking on cell phones.

Judging from what we see on the highways, they shouldn’t want for targets of opportunity. Under current law, talking on a handheld phone is a secondary offense, meaning police can charge the driver only if that person has been pulled over for another offense — such as speeding.

Talking on a handheld cell phone or driving while distracted in any other fashion (drivers are actually seen reading when they should be paying attention to what’s going on around them) is dangerous to them, their passengers and anyone else who is unlucky enough to be on the road near them.

The fine under current law is $40 for first offenders, with no points assessed against the driver’s license. The new bill would raise the maximum fine to $500, and points would be assessed.

This is a good bill. The Senate should pass it without hesitation, and Gov. Martin O’Malley should sign it in similar fashion.


Text Only
  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Editorial Cartoon Editorial Cartoon

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel

    Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.

    April 11, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Open data Open data

    Maryland state government took a step in the right direction when the General Assembly approved legislation aimed at making spending data more available and searchable to everyone.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo