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Handsfree In Maryland

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA) - - The first time you're caught driving in Maryland with your cell phone to your ear it will cost you $40.00 every violation after that carries a penalty of $100 and a point on your driving record.

"People really get distracted when they're on their phone," said Tia Goodwater.

MORE: 9NEWS NOW's Great Hang Up Campaign

But admit it. We've all done it before.

Roger Sullivan said, "I feel a need to see what's happening in my other world when i'm driving so it is a temptation."

"Yes, I have and it's dangerous because i have a kid and i shouldn't be doing it," admitted Sherreen Tolliver.

"It's going to be difficult to enforce." 

Maryland's State Police Superintendent said people often hide their phones. A recent study said that's the cause of a number of car crashes. However, another challenge in Maryland is that the new law is a secondary offense. That means an officer can only pull you over if you're caught violating another law.

"A law enforcement officer may see someone driving in a reckless manner, speeding, or doing something that is in violation of the law and then when they get into traffic stop itself they see that the driver was operating a cell phone," explained Col. Terrance Sheridan.

Police said the law is about changing people's behaviors but it takes time. They have, however, seen some success after last year's ban on texting.

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New highway signs will help drill home the message, but according to AAA Mid-Atlantic there's still a risk. "Reality is, you are 3 times more likely to be involved in a crash if you are driving and talking on a cell phone," said Ragina Averella.

Driver Bill Edwards agreed saying, "People just have no concern I don't care about them but they have no concern for other people. So no phones...outlawed - no problem. If you have an emergency pull over."

There are exceptions to the new law: dialing 911 and initiating or hanging up on a phone call.

Written by Delia Gonçalves
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com