It includes further restrictions on teenage drivers.
AAA Mid-Atlantic has legislative goals it would like to see accomplished during the 2012 Maryland General Assembly Session, which opened on Wed., Jan. 11th. One would make using cell phones and text messaging while driving primary offenses. That is, police officers could pull over motorists exclusively for that violation. Currently, it's a secondary offense. The cops can only cite drivers for using cell phones or texting while driving if they pull them over for another violation.
In addition, the auto club wants to extend restrictions on teenage drivers under 18. The law allows young motorists to operate a car without parental supervision from 5:00 AM until 12:00 midnight. "We'd like to see that from 5:00 AM until 10:00 PM," says AAA spokeswoman Ragina Averella. She says AAA would also like to see drivers under 18 with a provisional driver's license be prohibited from transporting passengers under the age of 21, and limiting the number of passengers under that age to no more than one. There would be exemptions for family members, she says.
AAA also wants a review of the use of speed cameras by local jurisdictions, and regulations for motorists who approach intersection with malfunctioning or dark traffic signals. Averella says there's no law which requires drivers to treat intersections with signal lights that don't work as a four-way stop. That's only a recommendation.
Finally, AAA wants the "move-over" law, requiring motorists to move into another lane when they come upon a stopped emergency vehicle, to be extended to those providing highway services, such as tow trucks and rollbacks.
With so much attention expected to be focused on the budget and taxes this year, Averella says it will be a challenge to get delegates and senators to consider traffic safety. "We know that legislators will be looking at a variety of issues, including taxes and funding and things of that nature. But we certainly believe that traffic safety will be a priority for them as well," she says.
AAA also says if the state approves a gas tax increase, any new revenue should bed used for building and maintaining roads and bridges; nothing else.