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Christine Delise
Sr. Public Relations Specialist, MD
O: (410) 616-1900 (ext. 4361153)
C: (443) 244-7253

TOWSON, MD (April 10, 2018) –– “It’s not over until it’s over” is the saying among politicians, lobbyists, and advocates in Annapolis on Sine Die.  The saying couldn’t be more true regarding two bills that had a status change seemingly due to lack of concurrence on amendments, after being passed by both Chambers.


The amended HB 42 which would have increased penalties for handheld cell phone use while driving failed after advocates were confident the bill would pass. A conference committee, consisting of members from both chambers, was formed to try to come to agreement to delete the Senate’s bill version that would have assessed one point to a driver’s license after the second consecutive conviction within five years. With only hours left of Sine Die, it was too late to put back on the calendar for a vote.


Another amended traffic safety bill, SB 296, that would have increased penalties for repeat convicted impaired drivers was also expected to pass, but failed over the amendment that would have deleted the felony charge.


Issues AAA Mid-Atlantic advocated for or against and the final status of the legislation include:


Bill and Summary


AAA Position

HB42 - Use of Handheld Telephone While Driving – Penalty. Bill would increase the maximum fine for using a handheld telephone while driving a motor vehicle to $250 and assess one point after subsequent convictions during a five-year period.

Died after a conference committee could not concur on amendments.


SB296 – Drunk and Drugged Driving – Subsequent Offenders (Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act of 2018). Bill would have increased the penalties for those repeat impaired driving offenders, who have been previously convicted of three or more alcohol or drugged driving-related offenses.

Senate refused to concur to House amendments and requested House to recede.


HB 1264/SB 1039 – Constitutional Amendment - Cannabis - Use, Possession, Cultivation, and Sale if passed by the General Assembly and subsequently Maryland voters at the next general election, would have serious consequences for traffic safety and impaired driving on Maryland roads.

Died in committee


SB 445 – Motor Vehicles – Operation When Approaching Vehicle With Visual Signals. The bill is an expansion of Maryland’s current move-over law to include service vehicles. Maryland’s previous law only applied to emergency vehicles and tow trucks.

Passed and becomes law effective October 1 upon Governor Hogan’s signature.


HB 434 - Vehicle Manufacturers - Notice to Purchasers and Lessees - Warranty Requirements is a consumer awareness bill that requires the auto manufacturer to notify the purchaser or lessee of a new motor vehicle in the state, within 90 days after purchase or lease, that an auto manufacturer or dealer cannot void a motor vehicle warranty or deny warranty coverage because a person other than the dealer serviced the vehicle.

Bill passed the House, but was delayed by the Senate and never received a vote in that chamber.


HB 881 - Aggressive Driving. Bill would reduce the required number of offenses that a person must commit at the same time or during a single and continuous period of driving to constitute aggressive driving.

Passed the House and proceeded to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, but did not come up for a vote.


SB 439 - Protective Headgear Requirement for Motorcycle Riders. Sponsored by the late Senator H. Wayne Norman, bill would have repealed the requirement for riders at least 21 years of age to wear a helmet.

Did not proceed to a committee vote.



“AAA was confident that stronger distracted and impaired driving legislation would be passed this legislative session and is sorely disappointed these bills failed at the last minute,” commented Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “However, we are pleased that an expansion of the move-over law passed, which will now protect service truck drivers, as they face the same dangers as first responders and tow truck operators when conducting business on the side of our roadways.”


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Towson, MD 21286

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland.  AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit

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