Proposed MD Bill Could Bring Jail Time For Texting While Driving - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Proposed MD Bill Could Bring Jail Time For Texting While Driving Accidents

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SALISBURY, Md. - Texting while driving has been an issue in the U.S. for several years, and now lawmakers in Maryland want to increase the penalty for drivers paying more attention to their phones than the road when they're behind the wheel.

The ads from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ad Council are alarming: a young girl texting behind the wheel as she drives full speed through a stop sign and into pedestrians.

It's a depiction of what happens across the country, and soon the tragic endings in real life could end in time behind bars. If passed
a new bill would send anyone to prison for up to three years, and slap them with up to $5,000 in fines, if they're convicted of causing death or a life-threatening injury in a texting-and-driving accident.

Right now, simply texting while driving is a primary driving offense, punishable with a $75 ticket on the first offense. That law went into effect October 1, 2013.

Both the Maryland House and Senate have versions of the bill that are working through the approval processes.

"I think I agree with it," said Vonero Richards. "Spending two seconds sending a text... that could be somebody's life."

Actually, sending or reading a text takes a driver's eyes off the road for nearly five seconds, according to www.DistractedDriving.gov. That's long enough to cross a football field at 55 miles per hour blind folded.

"I have family and friends that do it and it kind of bugs me," said Jacob Richardson. "It's a stupid risk to take."

But it's a risk more than 600,000 drivers across the country take at any given moment, every single day. And it's one that's caused 3,000 deaths in 2012.

"It's just kind of scary or sad that it has to go this far to get people to stop doing it," Richardson said.

"It's a pretty serious problem," said Brad Burke. He adds simply, "don't text and drive."

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