The Maryland House of Representatives has just passed a new bill meant to strengthen the states existing distracted driving law. Currently using a handheld cell phone while driving in Maryland is a secondary offense, meaning police can’t pull you over for it, they have to witness you doing something else wrong while talking on your cell phone, pull you over for that and then they can write you a citation for using a handheld cell phone while driving. The fine attached to that citation will be $40 and no points will be added to your license.

If the bill just recently passed by the Maryland House passes it will raise the amount of the fine for using a handheld cell phone driving to a whopping $500. It will also allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to assess points to the driver’s license if they are caught driving distracted. And not to be overlooked, the new bill would also make distracted driving a ‘primary offense’ meaning officers will be able to pull drivers they see breaking the law, and write tickets on the spot.

The proposed bill passed the House of Representatives by a very large margin meaning the proposal has a good deal of support. The final vote tally was 106 in favor and 29 against. The bill next moves to the Maryland Senate where it seems likely to garner a similar degree of support and eventually become the law of (Mary)land.