Maryland closes texting-driving loophole

March 8, 2011 at 12:12 PM

BALTIMORE, March 8 (UPI) -- Maryland lawmakers have approved a bill to prohibit motorists from reading text messages while driving, closing a loophole in existing laws, authorities said.

Two years ago, state lawmaker passed a measure that banned drivers from writing texts while driving, but the law made no mention of reading such messages, The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.

"Texting is blowing up," Sen. James Brochin, who led the effort to ban reading the electronic messages while driving, said.

His bill also covers reading e-mails.

"One more year of legislators on the road and seeing someone who was not paying attention cause a near accident is enough to give anyone pause," Brochin said.

There's been little enforcement of the texting ban since it was passed last year, with police issuing just slightly more than 200 citations, Maryland District Court records show.

Checking a GPS application on a smart phone would still be allowed under Brochin's bill, the Sun reported.

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