As a member of the Motor Vehicles and Transportation subcommittee, I am constantly looking for ways to improve public safety on Maryland’s roads. This year I am the lead sponsor of two bills – HB 294 and HB 373 – which should contribute to this goal.
HB 294 requires that drivers have both their headlights and rear lights–not fog lights—whenever their windshield wipers are in operation due to bad weather conditions. The current law, which allows for operation of headlamps or fog lights, does not sufficiently ensure safety on the roads, because turning on fog lights does not automatically turn on the tail lights of the vehicle, which makes it difficult for cars behind to see in poor weather conditions.
HB 373 is another bill designed to reduce unnecessary injuries and fatalities in car accidents. Current law makes it mandatory for the driver and front outboard passenger to wear seatbelts, but not a front middle-seat passenger. The current law also makes it a secondary offense not to wear a seatbelt in the back passenger seats. However, unrestrained passengers are much more likely to be injured or killed and to cause injuries to other passengers in the event of an accident.
In order to prevent unnecessary and tragic deaths and injuries, HB 373 will require every passenger of a vehicle to wear a seat by making it a primary offense not to wear a seat belt.