The Maryland State Legislature is taking up several important bills this Session on the issue of safe driving. I am sponsoring of one of those bills, Senate Bill 460-Vehicle Laws-Child Safety Seats and Seat Belts-Penalty – which raises the fine for failure to properly secure a child in a motor vehicle to $75.00.
In 2011, over 5500 citations were issued for failure to properly secure a child in a motor vehicle. Statistics prove that properly securing a child in a motor vehicle saves lives and the law requiring motorists to secure a child was put in place to save lives. The current fine for this offense is $25.00 – one of the lowest fines in the country. With the cost of a child safety seat averaging at about one hundred dollars, a $25.00 fine is no incentive to purchase a safety seat for motorists who continue to break the law and place a child in danger. I believe it is time to increase the fine to a dollar amount that more closely reflects the importance of this law. Delegate Reznik introduced this bill in the House of Delegates.
Another bill that had a public hearing last week is – Senate Bill 217 - Motor Vehicles – Use of Wireless Communication Device – Prohibited Acts, Enforcement, and Penalties. I am a co-sponsor of this legislation that will, among other things, change the enforcement of the law prohibiting the use of a hand held device while driving from a secondary to a primary offense. The latest statistic provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2009, 5,500 people died as a result of “distracted driving.” The Maryland State Police in their testimony before the Judicial Proceedings Committee said, “Senate Bill 217 takes a clear approach toward promoting safe driving, and if enacted will result in making Maryland roads safer for everyone.” Enacting this law will give our police the ability to enforce the law and pull vehicles over when they see someone using a cell phone while driving.
Maintaining our driving skills and knowledge is a lifetime learning process. The Motor Vehicle Administration has recently developed the Maryland Driver Challenge to encourage participation in a tutorial for drivers of all ages. This is a great opportunity to refresh your knowledge of Maryland’s driving laws. To take the challenge, please click here.
Driver safety is the responsibility of all of us who are licensed to drive in our state. I believe the proposed legislative initiatives will increase the safety of our roads and I will keep you informed as these bills pass through the legislative process. If you have any questions about these bills, please do not hesitate to contact me.