The Maryland House of Delegates gave the nod to a bill that raises fines for texting while driving to as much as $500 for the offense. The bill now moves to the Maryland Senate for review. This is the third year the bill has been introduced, according to a CBS Baltimore report.
Currently, maximum fines for texting while driving in the state are $75, $125 and $175 for first, second and third offenses, respectively. The new legislation repeals this tiered system and gives judges the discretion to fine drivers up to $500 for the offense.
The bill passed by a relatively narrow margin, 78-58. It takes 71 votes for a bill to pass the House, according to a report on The Baltimore Sun.
Proponents of the legislation believe the current fines are not high enough deter drivers from texting.
“I think people need to get serious about stopping people from using cellphones,” said Del. Frank Turner, a Howard County Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, reports The Sun.