On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, several new motor vehicle laws will take effect, including “Jake’s Law” which strengthens penalties for distracted driving.
Anyone who texts or reads messages while operating a motor vehicle that causes an accident that kills or seriously injures another will face penalties of up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000.
The law, “Use of Text Messaging Device or Handheld Telephone While Driving – Accidents Resulting in Death or Serious Injury – Penalties,” is known as Jake’s Law after 5-year-old Jake Owen, who was killed in a crash in 2011.
In addition to Jake’s Law, other motor vehicle laws passed in the last General Assembly session and taking effect October 1, 2014 include:
Senate Bill 378 Vehicle Laws – Electric Bicycle – Definition: defines an electric bicycle as a bicycle, rather than a moped or motorized mini-bike. Riders of electric bicycles have the same rights and responsibilities as riders of bicycles.
House Bill 344 Charles County – Sunday Car Sales – Blue Law Exemption: permits Charles County car dealers to operate on Sundays.
House Bill 436 Vehicle Laws – Operation of Vehicle When Approaching a Tow Truck: expands the “move over law” to tow trucks.
Senate Bill 813 Motor Vehicle Administration – Drivers’ Licenses and Identification Cards – Organ Donor Designation: keeps the donor designation on a driver’s license or identification card in effective until it is requested to be removed.
Senate Bill 26 Motor Vehicles – Commercial Instructional Permit Holders – Administrative Penalties and Procedures: imposes the same sanctions on a commercial instructional permit holder who violates the law as it imposes on a full commercial driver’s license holder.
Senate Bill 87 Drunk Driving – Ignition Interlock System Program – Repeat Offenders: requires a repeat offender to serve a full year’s suspension or participate in the ignition interlock program for a full year and prohibits a repeat offender from operating a work vehicle that is not equipped with an interlock device.
Senate Bill 390 Criminal Law – Illegal Dumping and Litter Control Law – Driver’s License – Points: imposes driver’s license and vehicle registration sanctions on those who are convicted of littering or dumping refuse using a motor vehicle.
For a complete list of all the new laws taking effect in 2014, visit https://www.mva.maryland.gov/about-mva/legislation/2014.htm.