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Maryland Cell Phone and Seat Belt Law Effective October 1, 2013

Effective October 1, 2013, the Maryland Cell Telephone and Seat Belt Law below will go into effect.


Maryland’s new law allows for tickets to be issued even if there is no other vioation observed when using a cell phone while a motor vehicle is in motion and/or if drivers and front seat passengers are not wearing seat belts. This law also pertains to the NIH Bethesda campus.


For your safety and information, please become familiar with the facts pertaining to this new law:


Maryland's Cell Phone Use Ban


  • Maryland’s cell phone law now prohibits a driver from using a cell phone while a motor vehicle is in motion

  • Law enforcement officers can stop a driver solely for using a cell phone – no other offense is needed

  • Drivers will receive a fine of up to:

    • $75 – first offense

    • $125 – second offense

    • $175 – third & subsequent offense

Nationally, 80 percent of vehicle crashes involve some sort of driver inattention. On average, more than 30,000 people in Maryland are injured annually as a result of distracted driving crashes.


Maryland's Seat Belt Law

  • Maryland has a primary seat belt law for front seat occupants and a secondary seat belt law for back seat occupants

  • Tickets can be issued to drivers and front seat passengers even if no other violation is observed

  • Each person that is not buckled up (driver and passenger) may receive a ticket of up to $50 for not wearing a seatbelt

  • In the case where any passenger under the age of 16 years of age is not buckled up, the driver will receive a ticket for each offense. For instance, if a driver is stopped and not wearing a seat belt, and a passenger under the age of 16 is also not restrained, the driver will receive a $50 adult seat belt ticket for himself and a $50 ticket for the passenger.


Seat belts save lives. Motorists are 75 percent less likely to be killed in a rollover crash if they are buckled up. For the period 2007-2011, 68,151 backseat occupants of passenger vehicles were involved in a reported crash in Maryland. Of these, there were 127 fatalities, 75 percent of which were reported to be unbelted. Additionally, there were 6,243 occupants who sustained a moderate or severe injury. Those who were reported as unbelted were 67 percent more likely to sustain a moderate to fatal injury.


Belted drivers were 50 percent more likely to sustain a moderate to fatal injury as the result of a motor vehicle crash when the occupant seated directly behind them was unbelted as compared to drivers who were seated in front of a belted occupant.




  • Park the Phone Before You Drive! Talking on a cell phone or texting is a leading source of driver distraction.

  • Manage Your Time. Driving is not the time to talk or text on a cell phone.

  • Drive Defensively. Just because you don't drive distracted doesn't mean that others won't.

  • Ride Responsibly. If you are a passenger and a driver is using a handheld cell phone, ask them to pull over or wait until they arrive at the destination. Avoid causing distractions as well.

  • Buckle Up Every Time, Day and Night, In Every Seat!

  • Set a good example! Children and young drivers model adult behavior. Adults who use a handheld cell phone while driving or who don’t buckle up are sending children the message that those behaviors are acceptable.


For more information on this new law, please visit the State of Maryland Highway Safety Office at: