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Montgomery County Police to Begin First Countywide Distracted Driving Enforcement Effort of 2020 on Friday, Feb. 14

For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 13, 2020

Montgomery County Police will begin the first Countywide distracted driving enforcement effort of 2020 on Friday, Feb. 14. The program, which will be done in conjunction with Maryland State Police, will involve officers from all six County police districts, with the heaviest concentrations based on areas with known high crash risks.

The first event and media availability for ride alongs as part of the program will be from 8-10 a.m. on Friday Feb 14. Media can request attendance on ride alongs by contacting County Police in advance.

“Sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for about five seconds—long enough to cover a football field while driving at 55 miles per hour,” said Wade Holland, Montgomery County’s Vision Zero Initiative coordinator. “Distracted drivers are a danger not only to themselves, but also to pedestrians and cyclists. We try many ways to get this message to drivers. Enforcement programs send the message very loudly.”

Approximately 27,000 people are injured or killed annually in Maryland because of distracted driving crashes.

“One out of every two car crashes in Montgomery County involves some type of distraction,” said Holland. “Driving is a serious responsibility and requires your full attention. No call or message is worth risking your safety and everyone else on or crossing the roadway.”

Penalties for being convicted of illegally driving while holding a cell phone in Maryland can include an $83 fine for the first offense, $140 for a second offense and $160 for third and subsequent offenses.

The penalties in Maryland for writing, sending or reading a text or electronic messages while driving can include a $70 fine and one point on your license record.

A driver who causes serious injury or death while talking or texting may receive a prison sentence of up to three years and a fine up to $5,000.

Montgomery County’s Vision Zero Initiative encourages drivers to do the following:

  • Leave cell phones in the glovebox when entering the car so you are not tempted to make calls or answer calls and become distracted.
  • Consider enabling the “Do Not Disturb” mode your phone before getting into the vehicle.
  • Hold your family and friends accountable. Passengers should speak up in the car when the driver is distracted.
  • Designate a passenger as the “designated texter” so the driver is not distracted.

For more information on Montgomery County’s Vision Zero Initiative to reduce traffic-related deaths and serious injuries, go to https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/visionzero/



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Release ID: 20-051
Media Contact: Neil H. Greenberger 240-777-6532