Maryland bill would raise texting and driving fine to $500

Maryland lawmakers may raise the maximum fine for texting and driving to $500, one of the highest in the country.

The Washington Post reports proponents of House Bill 42 say Maryland's tiered fine system is ineffective. The current system sets maximum fines from $75 to $175 depending on the driver's offense count, and bill sponsor Del. Frank S. Turner, D-Howard, says people use their phones despite the fines. 

Opponents like House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga, R-Baltimore County, say a costly $500 fine may cause legal problems for those who can't afford it.

The House of Delegates passed the bill last week for the third consecutive year; the Senate shot it down in 2016 and 2017.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will focus on the bill in their Tuesday meeting.