PIKESVILLE, Md. - There's no doubt drivers are guilty of multi-tasking. Let's face it, life is busy and much of it is spent behind the wheel.
Holding a cigarette is still legal in Maryland, but calling to check in on mom may get you pulled over.
We spent time on the beltway during evening rush hour with Sgt. Marc Black of the Maryland State Police.
"He had a cell phone in his hand and he was texting," said Sgt. Black.
Holding your cell phone is now a primary offense, whether you're talking, texting, or entering an address into navigation.
"I actually have one of those earpiece things at home on the charger, but I forgot it," said one driver, who Sgt. Black pulled over for talking on the cell phone.
This driver got a warning since it's day one of the new law.
"When someone is texting or talking on the phone, that's the equivalent, when they're looking down, that's an equivalent of them driving blind for up to 5 seconds," said Sgt. Black.
Carroll Rubin had to count to five when a driver nearly ran her off the road.
"I told her you need to get off your cell phone and drive with both hands because you're going to hurt someone," said Rubin.
On the other hand, Michael Janson thinks cell phones shouldn't be singled out.
"It ought to be a law against the distracted driver, the person that can't control their vehicle, they don't stay in their lane, the same as putting on makeup," said Janson.
Sgt. Black says if lipstick causes a distraction, he'll make a stop. But on October 1, he's looking to see who got the message about the new law.
Hands-free devices are still legal.
"You can't text and drive and talk and drive at the same time," said Rubin.
You can still pick up your phone to dial 911 in an emergency.
Also, police officers are able to hold their radios. Sgt. Black says they are trained in the academy to reach for and talk without taking their eyes off the road.
A first-time cell phone offense costs $83. That includes a $33 court fee, whether or not you fight it.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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