Baltimore police planning cellphone, seat belt crackdown

Baltimore Police are planning a crackdown on drivers who use hand-held phones behind the wheel or fail to use seat belts.

Days after a state law took effect tightening restrictions on cellphone use while driving, the department announced that it would set up a checkpoint Friday afternoon to look for violators. Another new law requires all adult passengers to wear seatbelts, and police said they'd be stepping up enforcement on that front as well.

The checkpoint will be at Harford Road and The Alameda starting Friday at 5 p.m.

"Efforts to enforce the law will be citywide, this checkpoint being the first large scale deployment of officers for that purpose," police said in a news release.

Authorities around the state have been conducting similar operations since the start of the month, with hundreds of tickets and warnings issued on Tuesday — the first day the law took effect

Lawmakers passed a hand-held cellphone ban in 2010 but made it a "secondary" offense that could only be enforced along with other violations. This year, the General Assembly changed the violation to a "primary" offense that is grounds to stop a motorist.

State law already allowed police to pull over vehicles whose drivers and front-seat passengers were unbuckled. This year, lawmakers added a new restriction making it a secondary offense for adults in the back seat to ride without seat.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad