Maryland Passes Bill on Distracted Driving

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Cell Phone Driving (credit: Michael Smith/Newsmakers)

Cell Phone Driving (credit: Michael Smith/Newsmakers)

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A measure to increase penalties for distracted driving that cause serious accidents has been passed by the Maryland General Assembly.

Lawmakers gave the bill final approval Monday. It now goes to Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The measure would increase penalties for people who cause accidents resulting in death or serious injury while text messaging or using hand-held cellphones.

Offenders would face penalties of up to a year in jail and a fine of $5,000 under the bill.

The measure is known as Jake’s Law after 5-year-old Jake Owen, who was killed in a crash in 2011.

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