As a supporter of #ItCanWait for the past two years, it’s always driven me crazy to see drivers holding their phones and talking or texting while their vehicle is in motion, especially since we were almost hit by a distracted driver this summer. Drivers had to be pulled over for other infractions before officers could issue a citation for them talking or texting on their mobile device.
As of October 1, Maryland joined 12 other states where using a phone while driving is illegal. It’s now considered a primary offense and officers can pull drivers over if they see them using a phone while the car is in motion. Drivers are being fined $83 for the first offense, $140 for the second, and $160 for the third.
How is the new law affecting drivers in Maryland? The Washington Post ran a story five days after the new law went into effect reporting that police in Montgomery County, Maryland wrote 533 tickets for driving while holding a phone in 2012 and expected to exceed that number before the end of the month.
While Maryland has made the use of handheld devices illegal, it’s still legal in 38 other states even though The National Transportation Safety Board is urging all states to ban the use of handheld devices. Progress towards a nationwide ban is slow but until it’s illegal in all 50 states, you can be personally responsible and work to educate your family and kids about mobile safety behind the wheel by doing any of these five things:
- Model no texting and driving for the sake of your children who will eventually be behind the wheel. Putting down your phone while you’re in the car shows them it’s not ever ok to use their device when they’re driving. Make sure that your family doesn’t become involved in the 100,000+ accidents a year that involve a driver who is texting.
- Pledge to never text and drive. The It Can Wait campaign has inspired over 2.5 million pledges. 1 in 3 people who’ve seen the texting while driving message say they’ve changed their driving habits.
- Watch “From One Second to the Next,” a powerful short film by renowned director Werner Herzog for the It Can Wait campaign and have your tissues ready. It will make you think twice about picking your phone up when you’re driving.
- Download an anti-texting and driving app, such as AT&T Drivemode or DriveSafe.ly by iSpeech if you’re among the 98% of commuters that texting or emailing while driving isn’t safe but part of the 49% that admit to doing it.
- Try the It Can Wait simulator, either online or when your car is in park. It’s a powerful reminder about how taking your eyes off the road for a second can have catastrophic consequences. After all, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds. At 55mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field while wearing a blindfold.
Because no text is worth a life, AT&T is offering a Jawbone ERA headset as giveaway to help you stay safe behind the wheel. This is one of my favorite headsets because it’s stylish, the battery lasts for a long time but I get alerts when it’s running low on juice, and the Noise Assassin 3.0 has amazing noise cancellation features that were originally developed for the military and used by helicopter pilots and tank commanders. What does this mean for you? Hands free driving and the ability to always hear the person on the other end of the line! For a list of other features, visit Jawbone.com.
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me what state you live in and if the use of handheld devices is legal or illegal in your state.
For additional entries, complete the requirement above and do any of the following 4 things:
- Visit ItCanWait.com and share a resource that was helpful to you in your comment.
- Pledge to never text and drive and leave a comment telling me you’ve done so.
- Tweet this daily and leave a link to your tweet in your comment: “I entered #ItCanWait #giveaway from @TechSavvyMama for @Jawbone Era b/c no text is worth a life. http://bit.ly/ATTJawbone”
- Subscribe to Tech Savvy Mama via email and leave a comment letting me know you’ve done so! Only verified email addresses will count as entries!
Winner will be contacted via email in approximately two weeks.
No compensation was received for this post although I did receive a product sample and have been compensated for my involvement in the #ItCanWait campaign in the past. Top images courtesy of AT&T and Jawbone.