Proposed ‘Jake’s Law’ passes first hurdle in Annapolis

A Maryland House of Delegates committee gave its approval late Wednesday night to “Jake’s Law,” a proposed legislation that would increase the penalties faced by drivers found guilty of causing a serious or fatal crash while using a cellphone.

That’s the first major hurdle for the proposed legislation, named for Jake Owen, a 5-year-old who was killed in a December 2011 crash in Baltimore that was caused by a 23-year-old driver who was talking on his cellphone. The case went to trial, and the driver paid $1,000 in fines.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 18 to 3 on Wednesday to give the bill a favorable report, as long as a few amendments are made. One of the amendments will reduce the maximum amount of jail time a driver could face from three years to one year. Drivers would still face a maximum fine of $5,000.

The amended bill now heads to the House floor for a full vote in the coming days. The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has yet to take action on similar proposed legislation.

“We think it’s a great start, but I think we still have a lot of work to do,” said Jake’s mother, Susan Yum, who has been in Annapolis every day this week to meet with lawmakers and deliver a personal note to each committee member. “We’re cautiously hopeful that we’ll get this through.”

Jenna Johnson is a political reporter who is covering the 2016 presidential campaign.

local

md-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Local

local

md-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.