Maryland has had a distracted driving ban on the books for quite some time. It prevented drivers from using handheld devices to make calls while they were behind the wheel. Of course it was only a secondary offense, which meant that even if a police officer saw a driver doing it they were not permitted, by law, to stop them for it. They had to find a different reason to pull them over first.

This week Maryland legislators gave the law teeth by introducing legislation intended to upgrade it to a primary offense. That means that talking on a cell phone while you are driving can get you a citation as fast as speeding through a school zone. Of course, talking on a cell phone while you are stopped at a traffic light is still perfectly legal.

The bill will need to be approved by both houses and be signed by the governor before becoming law, so there is still time to adjust your driving habits before you run afoul of any changes in the law. And avoiding distractions while driving is a good idea regardless of what the law demands.

The first offense would be punishable by up to a $75 fine. A second offense could bring a ticket of up to $125, and a third could result in a $175 fine.