Showing posts with label Maryland law. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maryland law. Show all posts

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Maryland Closes Loophole With New Texting Law

SILVER SPRING, Md. (WUSA) -- Maryland has made it illegal to text and drive, but lawmakers discovered some loopholes in their original law. Those gaps will be closed with a new law that will take effect Saturday.

What you should know:

1. Not only can you not text and send messages but no longer will you be able to read and receive texts.
2. The law applies both while
driving or stopped at a light.
3. Police can stop you if they see you texting; before police needed another traffic violation to cite you for texting (secondary offense) but now they can stop you just for texting ( a primary offense).
4. You can be fined $70 and get 1 point on your driver's license but if police determine texting caused an accident, the fine
jumps to $110 and 3 points.
5. Your driver's license can be suspended with as little as 8 points and revoked at 12.

You can also be criminally responsible if texting caused an accident that resulted in a death.

Lon Anderson, AAA Spokesperson, says, "When you get right down to it, texting and driving is stupid. You are begging to be in an accident."

Mirta Hanc says, "Yeah, I'm guilty as charged. I find myself from time to time. I try not to. But the new law will change my behavior.  I think so."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Motorist Pleads Guilty To Manslaughter

A man from Friendship (MD) admitted guilt Monday in the drunken-driving death of an elderly motorist, a man who was on his way to the home of a disabled friend whom he drove to work almost every day for more than 15 years.

Sean Kevin Fitzgibbon, 28, pleaded guilty to automobile manslaughter in the death of Robert Francis Burdette, 74, of Clinton, before Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge William C. Mulford II. Assistant State's Attorney Brian Marsh said prosecutors intend to seek a jail term followed by five years of supervised probation when Fitzgibbon is sentenced in September.

Outside the courtroom, John Hutchinson said no sentence can soften the loss of the uncle he affectionately called "Dad," who helped raise him since birth and with whom he and his single mother lived.

"He spent most of his day taking care of others," said Hutchinson, a resident of Mechanicsville. On the morning of the crash, Burdette was driving from Clinton to Dunkirk to help a disabled man he knew from church get out of bed and ready for work, Hutchinson said. Burdette generally drove the man to work at the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, returned to Clinton at 6:30 a.m., did custodial work at the Clinton United Methodist Church, then drove back to Washington around 2 p.m. to bring his friend home to Dunkirk.

Hutchinson said that since retiring from work as a cashier supervisor at an A&P grocery store, Burdette also helped several neighbors with shopping and medical appointments. After Burdette's death, others have told him of Burdette's kindness toward them, Hutchinson said.

Mulford is expected to hear about the victim at sentencing.

State sentencing guidelines recommend up to two years in jail. A typical sentence for a first-time offender in the county is no more than 18 months. Hutchinson said he hoped state legislators would increase penalties for automobile manslaughter.

About 2:30 a.m. last Oct. 7, Fitzgibbon's Chevrolet Malibu, estimated by witnesses to be going 80 mph in a 55-mph zone, rear-ended Burdette's pickup truck on rain-slickened southbound Route 4 near Plummer Lane in Lothian, launching the pickup into a tree. Burdette died Nov. 1 after 25 days in intensive care in Prince George's Hospital Center, said Carol Hutchinson, the wife of Burdette's nephew.

Fitzgibbon's blood-alcohol level was 0.21 percent at the time of the crash, more than twice the level required for a drunken-driving conviction. Defense lawyer Kevin Joyce said Fitzgibbon was waiting to be called for Navy boot camp, but the crash likely ended his enlistment. Fitzgibbon, who has been on house arrest since he was charged in March, acknowledged having an alcohol problem and completed an outpatient treatment program, Joyce said.

The Burdette family's civil suit against Fitzgibbon is pending.