Question: Does Maryland currently have a “DUI-E” charge or a distracted driving law such as those in other states?
Answer: You know, they have the regular “using a handheld device” type charge, which is only a $50 charge, and it is something that can cause you to get pulled over. But in Maryland there is no real “DUI-E” charge. There’s no driving under the influence of electronics charge. Now, where it does become interesting is in a fatality case. So, we have seen, there is a new texting law that attaches itself when somebody’s the victim of a car accident and the driver was texting or using their phone and they died, that it does elevate it to a manslaughter charge as opposed to just a civil citation. So, it is wildly important when it comes to a fatality case. We’re now seeing these cases trickle in where some young person was texting, drove through a stoplight and hit somebody on a motorcycle and killed them.
They are being charged with manslaughter and doing jail time. So, they are ramping it up but we’re way far behind other states as far as just, in non-fatality cases, having any kind of serious punishment. So, now in Maryland you can’t have a handheld device up to your ear or even in your hand, so they are trying to curtail it. And the officers are enforcing it, but there’s no extra punishment, there’s no DUI-E charge, and really, unless it’s a fatality case, there really isn’t much of an add-on yet. So Maryland is apparently, I guess, behind the ball on that type of charge.