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No Texting While Driving: Maryland and Virginia Join District of Columbia in Ban

September 2, 2009

By: Melissa Calhoon Jones

Employers in the mid-Atlantic region should be aware that Maryland and Virginia have joined the District of Columbia in banning drivers from writing and sending email and text messages while driving.  D.C. has prohibited texting while driving since 2004.  Virginia's ban went into effect July 1, 2009.  Maryland's ban takes effect October 1, 2009.  

In all three jurisdictions, the ban applies to text messages and other electronic messages, such as email, sent through wireless devices, but does not apply to text messages sent to 911 or to otherwise alert emergency services.  Maryland and Virginia's statutes specify that they do not prohibit use of GPS devices, while D.C.'s statute does not address that issue.   

Texting bans have practical implications in the workplace, such as who bears financial responsibility for fines assessed for violations incurred on company business, as well as the impact of these laws on safety policies and productivity expectations for employees who are on the road.  Employers seeking to prohibit texting by employees while driving on company business are encouraged to implement policies addressing these issues.   

For assistance with these and other employment matters, please contact Melissa Calhoon Jones by phone at 410.752.9765 or via email via email.

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