On Oct. 1, using a hand-held cell phone while driving in Maryland became a primary offense, meaning it’s now cause for a vehicle stop all by itself. But for police in the state, that form of distracted driving remains perfectly legal. Nevertheless, Anne Arundel County Police Chief Kevin Davis announced via social media Tuesday that his officers will adhere to the same rules as everyone else, using only a hands-free setup while driving.
The police’s exemption from the law has an argument, particularly in situations that find just one officer in the car on the way to an emergency who needs to relay information over something more private than the radio. But even so, if hands-free units exist, why not use them?
Davis characterizes the policy as requiring officers to “model the behavior we expect from our motorists.” And after the county’s particularly aggressive pullover effort — 156 drivers were stopped on Oct. 1 for cell phone use — it’s not a bad idea to practice what you enforce. Besides, Davis suggests that for a police officer, using a hand-held cell phone while driving “seems almost ridiculous” from a safety standpoint, given everything else a cop has to pay attention to.
All right. I’m convinced. Let’s make it the rule everywhere.
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