Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

September 19, 2013

Police should go after ‘hard-core’ cell phone users

Drivers are supposed to put away their handheld cell phones or texting devices while they are behind the wheel. Unfortunately, an overwhelming number of them do not.

A blatant disregard for Maryland’s law against driving while using handheld wireless devices is evident any day of the week. While you are stopped at a traffic light, just observe the moving traffic and notice how many people continue to have one hand on the wheel and the other on a cell phone.

Some of that may change Oct. 1. On that date, Maryland’s law against using handheld wireless devices while driving becomes a primary offense — meaning police can pull you over and write a ticket. Until now, the law was a secondary offense and police had to have another reason to stop someone they saw on a cell phone or texting.

The wireless device law is not something to be taken lightly. Distracted drivers cause accidents and can cause deaths on the highway — their own and the lives of others.

As of Oct. 1, the penalty for using a handheld device will be a fine of up to $75 for the first offense, up to $125 for a second offense, and $175 for every ticket after that. That’s a lot of money — to say nothing about the points that will be assessed against the violator’s motor vehicle license.

A few years ago when Maryland passed its first law making cell phone use a secondary offense, the hope was that motorists would take heed and switch to a hands-free phone or stop cell phone use while driving altogether.

While many motorists did obey the law, many more did not. It is these “hard-core” handheld cell phone users that police should now go after.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • About time About time

    Although many Cumberland streets are in need of repair and improvements, the decision by city and county officials to address Greene Street is a good one.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where is it?

    Once upon a time, the Maryland Chamber of Commerce held its annual conventions at the Bedford Springs resort hotel near Bedford, which is in Pennsylvania.

    July 28, 2014

  • Korean War Korean War

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sloppy lawmaking is to blame

    July 27, 2014

  • C-minus grade C-minus grade

    If a survey conducted by Thumbtack.com and the Kaufman Foundation is an accurate portrayal, Maryland has a long way to go to become a business-friendly state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Big loophole Big loophole

    How ironic — and how sad — that the Potomac Highlands Airport Authority plans a closed executive session to discuss the open meetings law.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don’t do it. Don’t do it

    Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • July 20, 1969 July 20, 1969

    When Apollo 11 landed on the moon 45 years ago today, it was until that time the mostwatched television programming in history.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo