Distracted driving tickets increase in Maryland

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) - Maryland State Police records show that tickets for distracted driving offenses have skyrocketed since driving while using a hand-held cellphone became a primary offense in October.

The Frederick News-Post reported Friday that troopers issued nearly 6,800 electronic tickets for such offenses in the seven months from October through April. That's more than the 5,000 electronic tickets they issued for distracted driving in all of 2013.

Electronic tickets are printed by devices in patrol cars that scan a driver's license. The figures don't include handwritten tickets.

Before last October, driving while using a hand-held cellphone was a secondary offense, meaning drivers couldn't be stopped for that reason alone.

The State Farm insurance company says drivers should either pull over to text or ask a passenger to send the message.