A few years ago, I was driving my daughter and her best friend on an hour long trip. I wanted to listen to a podcast while I drove, and I didn’t want to force the girls to listen. They were talking and laughing.
So I did what I bet a lot of you do without thinking – I put in my ear buds. We hit traffic about 20” into the drive and as I was sitting there stopped completely still waiting on an accident to clear, I suddenly had the thought “I wonder if this is legal?”
So I did what most people would do – I pulled out my Iphone and Googled it.
Now in my defense, traffic was not moving. However, that technically doesn’t matter. You cannot surf the web on your phone while you are driving in Maryland. I knew that was illegal. I did it anyway. (I hope this blog post isn’t used against me one day!)
Guess what I found out? Maryland is actually one of the few states that prohibits wearing both ear buds while driving. Most states leave it mostly legal, or the laws are very complicated. Maryland clearly makes it illegal. You can wear one ear bud, but not both.
Sec. 21-1120 “A person may not drive a motor vehicle on any highway or on any private property that is used by the public in general in this State while the person is wearing over or in both ears earplugs … over or in both ears a headset … over or in both ears earphones attached to a radio, tape player or other audio device.” Exceptions include safety earplugs, hearing aids and headsets used for communicating with other emergency personnel. Drivers wearing headphones or earphones face a $60 ticket and one point assessed on a license or a $100 ticket and three points if contributing to an accident.
So I was now violating two state laws at the same time. What did I do? I would like to tell you I pulled out the ear buds and listened to the inane chatter of ten year old girls for the next hour.
I won’t tell you that because it would be a lie.
I tried one ear bud, but I couldn’t hear the podcast with only one ear bud while the car was moving at full speed. So, I put the other one back in. Only this time, I started looking around for police vehicles. And a short time later, I was passed by two. One was a PG County Police Officer, and the other was a State Trooper. Each time I saw them coming, took the ear buds out until they passed, and put them right back in.
If you are keeping count, your friendly neighborhood lawyer was ignorant of one law, knowingly violated another, and then used the information he obtained in violation of the law to hide his wrong doing while the cops went by.
Go ahead and say it – “just like a lawyer!”
Later, when I thought about it, I realized what I had done and was a little ashamed. I should, and do, know better. And to make matters worse, I was exhibiting awful behavior in front of my daughter. I don’t think she was paying attention, but you never know. I have to set a good example.
So do NOT do as I did. Act better than that. Don’t wear both ear buds while driving in Maryland.
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