FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|CONTACT:||Buel C. Young||MVA Media Relations|
MARYLAND MVA ANNOUNCES NEW STATE LAWS TO TAKE EFFECT OCTOBER 1
GLEN BURNIE, MD (September 29, 2011) --- A prohibition on reading text messages while driving, a waiver of vehicle registration and driver's license renewal fees for Medal of Honor recipients, and an expansion of the ignition interlock program are several new laws of interest to Maryland motorists that will take effect October 1, 2011, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration announced today.
Following are capsule summaries of the new laws:
HB 196 / SB 424 – Motor Vehicles – Use of Text Messaging Device While Driving –
Prohibited Acts - This bill prohibits reading a text message or electronic message while operating a motor vehicle in the travel portion of the roadway. The bill also clarifies that the prohibition on writing, sending or reading a text message also applies to electronic messages, and that the prohibition applies any time you are operating a vehicle on the travel portion of the roadway, whether or not the vehicle is in motion.
HB 1276 / SB 803 – Drunk Driving Reduction Act - This bill makes several changes to the ignition interlock program. The bill requires more drivers to participate in the program by requiring participation (or suspension) for (1) drivers under 21 who violate their alcohol restriction (.02 or greater), (2) drivers who have a subsequent alcohol conviction within 5 years, and (3) drivers with a high blood alcohol content (BAC) (.15 or greater) who are subsequently convicted of DWI or DUI. The bill prevents high BAC drivers who are convicted from being licensed again until they complete the ignition interlock program.
The bill also permits more drivers to opt into the program at various times, e.g. after being removed from the program for interlock violations one can reapply after a 30-day suspension and start the program over again. Also, drivers who are not initially eligible for the program or who opt for suspension in lieu of the program can later opt into the program. Finally, the bill creates criminal sanctions for failure to abide by interlock restrictions; i.e. driving a car not equipped with interlock when you have an interlock restriction. There are several other provisions, including an employment related exemption, a provision for concurrent terms of suspension, and a fee requirement.
SB 679 – Vehicle Laws – Overtaking and Passing School Vehicles – School Bus Monitoring Cameras - This bill permits a law enforcement agency, in consultation with a local school board, to install cameras on school buses for the purpose of recording violations relating to overtaking and passing school vehicles. The bill provides certain requirements for the recorded images and for citations relating to such violations, and creates a civil penalty for violations.
HB 789 – Driver's License Applications – Cosigner for Minors – Department of Social Services - This bill permits the director of a local department of social services, or his designee, to co-sign the driver's license application of a minor committed to the custody or guardianship of social services.
HB 1017 / SB 2 – Vehicle Laws – Registration and Driver's License Renewal Fees – No Charge for Recipients of Medal of Honor - This bill provides that recipients of the Medal of Honor may not be charged a fee to renew either their driver's license or vehicle registration.
HB 319 / SB 689 – Motor Vehicle Dealers – Issuance of Temporary Registration Plate – Lapsed Security – Registration - This bill permits a licensed car dealer to issue a temporary registration plate to a vehicle buyer who is subject to a penalty for lapsed security on another vehicle.
HB 908 – Motor Vehicles – Leased Vehicles – Advertising Practices - This bill requires a dealer who leases vehicles to include the dealer processing charges and freight charges in determining adjusted capitalized cost used to calculate base lease payment shown in advertising. The bill also prohibits a dealer from advertising to the general public a capitalized cost reduction that is not offered to all potential lessees.
HB363 – Criminal Law – Manslaughter by Vehicle or Vessel – Criminal Negligence – This bill creates a new crime of operating a motor vehicle in a "criminally negligent manner" for causing the death of another person through conduct creating an unreasonable “substantial and unjustifiable risk." The penalty is a maximum of 3 years imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine.
* * * * * * *
Anywhere. Anytime. MVA Online. The MVA offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through eMVA (www.mva.maryland.gov), including online appointments for the driver skills test, vehicle registration renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and more. Customers can also effect transactions by calling MVA's Interactive Voice Response Phone System at 1-888-834-7344.