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(TBD) Maryland’s cell phone use while driving just became a bit stricter Friday. The state’s new law banning handheld cell phone use while driving takes effect October 1. However, the law is a secondary offense meaning you can get a ticket only if you’ve been pulled over for another offense.

The fine for a first offense is $40, with $100 for subsequent offenses. Points will be assessed for violators with two or more offenses or if cell phone use contributed to a crash.

Exceptions to Maryland’s law include calling 9-1-1, ambulance, hospital, fire or law enforcement. Drivers are also allowed to turn a handheld phone on or off and to answer and end calls.

The state already has a law that bans texting while driving. The fine for this violation can be up to $500.

Seven other states, Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands have similar handheld cell phone bans.

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